What the Heck is Tech Neck?

tech neck

A “real pain in the neck” is a commonly used idiom, but it takes on a whole new meaning when you, literally have a pain in your neck.

It is always important to be aware of and tend to any pain in your neck, especially in today’s world, since we spend time bending our heads daily to look at our cellphones or other digital devices.  Our excessive and collective habit of doing so is causing the phenomenon known as “tech neck.”

What Exactly Is Tech Neck?

Tech neck is a term that describes repetitive strain to the neck due to improper neck position when viewing and facing digital devices.

For every 10 degrees, your head leans forward from a neutral position, the perceived weight of the head by the nervous system increases by about 10 pounds.  

Your muscles must counteract this weight by contracting to hold your head up, thus working overtime. The constant load pulls on the spine’s vertebral structures, creating torque that can twist and rotate the spine out of alignment.  

It also strains the supporting muscles, ligaments, joints, and intervertebral discs in the neck, leading to headaches, migraines, jaw pain, tightness, and achiness in the upper and mid-back areas.  As these structures tighten, they put more pressure on the cervical discs in the neck, which can cause them to bulge or even rupture.

Symptoms of Tech Neck

Each individual can experience a few or many of the symptoms listed below.  The longer you have the symptoms, the more damage can result.  Your body’s supportive structures have “muscle memory,” and consistent poor posture and/or head and neck alignment can become more challenging to realign.

  • Chronic neck pain and stiffness
  • Upper back pain
  • Headaches (tension headaches and migraines)
  • Jaw (temporomandibular) pain
  • Muscle fatigue and muscle spasms
  • Dizziness
  • Rounded shoulders 
  • Aesthetic issues (head tilted forward)
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Humped upper back
  • Bulging, herniated discs, or disc degeneration
  • Nerve irritation or pinched nerve
  • Tingling and numbness in arms and hands
  • Muscle spasms

Treatments for Tech Neck

If you’re experiencing any symptoms of tech neck, consider incorporating some of the following exercises/stretches and good postural habits into your day:

  1. Chin tucks/retractions
  2. Shoulder blade squeeze
  3. Pec stretch 
  4. Ear-to-shoulder stretch
  5. Take frequent tech breaks to avoid prolonged periods of looking down at your devices.
  6. Ensure your computer screen, tablet, and mobile phone are held or viewed at eye level as much as possible.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help With Tech Neck

Getting regular chiropractic adjustments with Dr. Lydia + Dr. Bethanie can help ease areas of tension or limited restrictions and mitigate tech neck symptoms from occurring.  Keeping your spine in alignment helps all parts of it to remain strong, supportive, and optimally functioning.

Schedule a visit for chiropractic care at Vaida, and let us help you proactively keep you from experiencing tech neck.

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