Have you ever left the house and realized that you forgot to bring your cell phone? Did a little bit of panic set in? We’re becoming so dependent on our smart phones that we’re on them more and more all the time.
Not only is too much time on our phones and social media not a good idea for our mental health, it can be hard on our bodies as well. If you’re spending long periods of time each day staring down at your phone or your laptop, it’s possible you could develop tech neck.
What Is Tech Neck?
Tech neck is the term for the physical effects of staring down at a computer or phone for too many hours. You can even get it from improper posture while reading a book.
Causes Of Tech Neck
Your cervical spine contains seven vertebrae that connect your head to your shoulders. These vertebra are connected by facet joints and surrounded by tendons, muscles, ligaments, and nerves.
One of the main functions of the cervical spine is to hold up your head. Babies need support to keep their head up until they strengthen their neck.
But imagine if they just looked down all the time. You’d be worried that they wouldn’t learn to look straight ahead and wouldn’t develop correct posture as they grow up.
When we say that people are acting like babies on computers and smart phones, we don’t just mean how they’re behaving on social media. If you spend too much time with bad posture, you may find yourself suffering from tech neck.
Just like babies who can’t lift their head, if you hunch forward for too many hours per day, you will start to shorten your muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the front of your neck. That will lengthen the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the back of your neck. This can cause imbalance and pain.
Symptoms Of Tech Neck
Have you ever had a hard time looking up after staring at your phone for too long? It feels like your muscles get locked into a position and your neck feels stiff when you finally look up again.
What about tingling in your forearms or hands after a long day of typing trying to make a deadline? Ever feel like your chest is tight and it hurts to slide your shoulder blades back together? What about pounding headaches and tight neck muscles? Some people also develop dizziness.
How To Prevent Tech Neck
To prevent tech neck, avoid looking down for long periods of time:
- Take breaks. Set an alarm every hour. Look up and gaze at a point on the wall. Gently stretch your neck as if nodding “yes” and “no”. Do this for a minute on the hour.
- Raise your laptop. You can buy standing desks for your home or office. For a cheaper option, try adding a laptop desk to your workspace. For a free option, stack several large, hardcover books and place your laptop on it.
- Adjust your workspace. Try an ergonomic keyboard, mouse, and wrist pad instead of typing on a laptop. This will help you stop leaning forward so much and can also prevent problems with carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Improve your vision. Get your eyes checked. You may be leaning forward so you can see better.
- Heads up. Imagine you have a string pulling on the top of your head and lengthening your neck.
- Put your phone down. Consider checking your texts and emails a few times a day instead of constantly. Use timers to limit social media use. Your neck will thank you and you may improve your focus.
We’re Here To Help
If you’re suffering from headaches or neck pain from tech neck, we can help get your body back to normal. With our therapeutic massage therapy, electric muscle stimulation and spinal manipulation, we can help alleviate the pain and get your neck back to working the way it’s supposed to.
Call 417 Spine to schedule an appointment and start conquering your pain.