Tech Neck, the Pandemic of the Modern Era

by Dr Keevara Raidoo

Working on a computer or looking down at your phone can cause Tech Neck.

How many hours of your day do you spend bent over your computer or your phone?  A recent study showed that the average person spends 6 hours and 58 minutes in front of a screen (Phone, TV, Computer, etc.). That is an astonishing amount of time to be huddled over a device and as a result of this, we are seeing an increased number of neck, shoulder and upper back cases presenting to our practices.

What is ‘Tech Neck’?

When you’re working on a computer or looking down at your phone, the muscles in the back of the neck have to contract and work extra hard to hold your head up. The more you look down, the heavier your head becomes and the more the muscles have to work to keep your head up. These muscles can get fatigued and sore from looking down at our smartphones, working on computers, or looking down at our tablets all day and that’s how the term “tech neck” was coined.

The average adult head weighs 4-5 kg, which is supported by the bony structures, muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the neck. But when you tilt your head forward and look down, which is the common posture for texting, the weight of your head places around 25 kgs of force on the neck. Your neck simply isn’t built to withstand that type of force for prolonged periods. The result is muscular and ligamentous strain and other structural issues that cause the symptoms associated with Tech Neck.

Our busy schedules and sedentary lifestyles leave us with limited time during the day to take a break from our devices and allow our bodies time to rest and recover. Repetitive overuse of the same muscle groups can lead to tons of discomfort and pain in the long run.

What are the symptoms of Tech Neck?

  • Generalized aching discomfort in the lower neck, shoulders, and upper back
  • Sharp, stabbing or even burning pain that is intense and localized in one spot
  • Headaches
  • Reduced mobility or stiffness in the neck, upper back, and shoulders
  • Increased pain when tilting the head forward and looking down to text
  • Jaw pain or a feeling of stiffness when opening the mouth.
  • Tingling pain and numbness in the arms and hands, related to spinal nerve irritation and inflammation

Don’t despair, Chiropractic can help!

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we advise that you consult with a Chiropractor for a full assessment and treatment. Chiropractic treatment will assist in reducing the pain and discomfort associated with Tech Neck by using various treatment modalities including gentle neck adjustments to improve your spinal mobility and restore full range of motion. Your Chiropractor will also provide you with ergonomic and posture correction advice as well as stretches and/or exercises to prevent the recurrence of these symptoms.

Remember, you only have one spine… So take care of it!

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