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High-Tech Pain in the Neck

In a world of constant connectivity and ever evolving technology, we are faced with a new and little-researched technology related health issue. This new occurrence has been coined “text neck” or “tech neck” and is caused by hunching over a handheld device and straining your neck forward to see that screen.

Tech neck can feel like:

  • A strain in the neck
  • Stiffness in the shoulders
  • A headache

There is no question that posture plays a significant role in the cause of tech neck. Occupational ergonomics has become part of the discussion over tech neck because it is the study of people at work. The goal of ergonomics is to reduce stress and eliminate injuries and disorders associated with the overuse of muscles, bad posture and repeated tasks.

Growing Up With Technology

The use of handheld devices, like a smartphone or tablet, spans all ages. Children are becoming more dependent on these devices, and the potential for this to cause early degeneration in their necks is a possibility. Little research has been done because the handheld technology is still very new. Doctors don’t know the long-term ramifications, and only time will tell.

Early education is the key to potentially combating issues that might arise for children as they grow with technology at their hands. It’s important to teach children about proper posture and physical education. Similar to what we’ve learned from people who work in front of computers all day, it is not just about neck support but also lower back and thoracic spine. To help fight the pain that comes with sitting all day, you need to have a chair (with good back support) and keyboard appropriate to your body. It’s also important to get up and move around.

Help reverse the pain of tech neck with these five tips:

  1. Condition your body by strengthening and stretching all areas of your spine.
  2. Switch up your exercises to help keep a balanced physical therapy program.
  3. Keep your handheld device at eye level if possible. However, holding it at eye level can create problems in the shoulders; therefore, put your phone or tablet on a stand in front of you so you are not looking down.
  4. Talk to text is an additional way to avoid looking down.
  5. Try prism glasses. Prism glasses are optical glasses that turn your view to a downward 90 degree angle, eliminating the need for head movement. They are a great solution for those with limited mobility.

Take care of your body, and do what you can to avoid neck pain and “tech neck.” Minimize bad posture and stress on the neck. Take frequent breaks from your device even if it means disconnecting from a constantly connected high-tech world.

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