Does this sound like a problem? Our necks think so. Unfortunately, sometimes we become aware of this only after a bad injury or after our necks cannot stand it any longer, having become stiff and tense.
Technology is surely a blessing to humanity; it has brought us closer together and kept many businesses afloat during the Coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, it has also aggravated the bad technology habits that we already had in modern society.
Some of the short and long-term effects of tech neck include:
- Straining your spine
- Limiting neck mobility
- Neck sprains
- Risk of developing an irreversible hunchback which could lead to surgery
The good news is that there are strategies that you can take to reduce or prevent tech neck and its ugly side effects, like:
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Better posture
- Implementing ergonomic habits when working
- Practicing mindfulness/awareness
Read on to learn more about tips on how to prevent tech neck.
Your Neck (Cervical Spine)
Your cervical spine, or neck, is made up of seven small vertebrae. It is the most flexible part of your spine, but this also makes your neck more vulnerable to injuries. Your neck has a natural “lordotic curvature,” meaning that it bends inward gently. This bend helps balance the weight of your head evenly.
Your head weighs between 10-12 pounds, but for every 15 degrees that you bend your neck forward (like when you look at your phone), it doubles the weight of your head. If you bend your neck at 45 degrees, as most of us do when we spend time on our phones or even laptops, your head will weigh about 50 pounds! That’s an incredible amount of strain on your neck, shoulders, and upper back.
Tech neck can cause tension and pain on your neck, shoulders, and upper back. In addition, it can create panic and breathing problems. Another common problem from hunching over on our phones is headaches. Many people also hunch their shoulders when texting or typing on their laptop keyboard, which could lead to an irreversible hunchback over the course of years.
Tips to Relieve & Prevent Tech Neck
Take Stretch & Walking Breaks
To relieve the symptoms of tech neck, you can take small breaks from your phone or laptop to do:
- Forward and backward shoulder rolls. You can roll them about 5-10 times if it feels good.
- Gently bending your head backward to give your neck a counter-stretch to the usual forward bend. This pose should bring some immediate relief!
- If you practice yoga or want to give a relatively easy pose a try, get in a “Downward Dog,” which will open the anterior chest wall and shoulders.
- If Downward Dog is difficult, you can try Cat-Cow, like in the picture below. This movement will help increase spinal awareness and improve your posture.
- You can take hourly walking breaks (can be as small as 5 minutes) to relieve tension, get the body moving, and the blood circulating!
- Try to exercise every day (for at least 20-30 minutes). This includes jogging, swimming, dancing, brisk walking, or any aerobic exercise of your choice. It is important to know your body’s limits to prevent injuries.
Fix Your Posture & Ergonomics
- Lifting your phone so you are using it at eye level will help prevent tech neck.
- You can also adjust your seat so you are sitting upright when you use your laptop.
- Sitting in a chair with a headrest will help hold the back of your head when you use your computer, preventing the forward bend of the neck.
Chiropractic Care for Tech Neck
In addition to practicing good habits like the ones mentioned above to prevent and relieve tech neck pain, Dr. Kordonowy can help you feel better through spinal manipulation. By using hands-on spinal manipulation, Dr. K will help realign the musculoskeletal structure and spine, which will promote the body’s regeneration and neck mobility restoration. Sometimes one session will bring much relief, but often more than one chiropractic session is needed, especially if you’ve been suffering from tech neck for a while. Dr. K will also suggest specific exercises for your needs and will provide you with ergonomic advice.
Your Asheville Chiropractor
If you suffer from the effects of tech neck, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (828) 277-0903. Dr. Kordonowy is happy to help you take hold of your health and improve your quality of life!