You may or may not have heard of “tech neck,” also sometimes called “text neck” because it is a frequent complaint of teens that spend hours hunched over their phones. Adults can get tech neck, too, from hours of using a computer, phone or tablet. This can be a serious concern if your work involves many hours a day on such devices. Learn some positive steps to prevent an aching neck or worse problems from tech neck.
What is Tech Neck?
Tech neck is a real problem caused by tilting the head forward for long periods of time, usually to work on a computer, tablet or use the apps on a smartphone. This activity actually causes a repetitive stress injury or muscle strain in the neck.
The human head weighs around 11 pounds and is supported by seven vertebrae and 20 muscles. When suspending the head forward, this weight is compounded, adding extra stress to these muscles and spinal vertebrae. Over time, this causes an injury or strain that results in pain, swelling and limited mobility.
How Can I Prevent Neck Problems from Tech Neck?
There are several actions you can take to prevent the onset of tech neck and resulting neck pain and problems. Start using them today to prevent neck problems, or to help remedy tech neck irritation.
Take Breaks for Exercise
If you work for hours at a time before a screen, take periodic breaks. Get up and move around, look at something other than a screen and move your neck around to exercise the muscles. Every 30 minutes would be ideal, but try to take short breaks at least every hour to move your neck around.
Raise Your Screen to Eye Level
The primary cause of tech neck is leaning the head over to look at a screen. You can prevent this by raising your screen to eye level. Stands are available to hold computer screens and even tablets at higher levels to ease the strain on your neck and spine. Hold your smartphone at eye level and do not look down at it – or use a stand if using apps for extended periods of time.
Sit with Good Posture
Sitting with good posture keeps your head, neck and back aligned, easing the strain all up and down the line. Sit all the way back in the chair, back straight and head level. Arms should rest naturally at your sides and feet should sit flat on the floor. An ergonomically designed chair goes a long way to helping you maintain good sitting posture while you work.
Use a Headrest
Adding a headrest at the proper angle onto your chair provides extra support for your head and neck while working. Allow your head to steady against the headrest in between breaks for exercise.
Dr. Sina Rajamand and the team at Battle Born Brain and Spine in Reno are experts at diagnosing and treating all kinds of neck pain. If changing your posture and lifestyle habits do not bring relief from tech neck, schedule a consultation at our state-of-the-art clinic. We can investigate further and help you find relief from nagging neck pain.