Neck pain is one of the top five pain disorders in the United States, affecting up to 30% of the population. The good news is, in most cases, neck pain can be prevented or significantly improved simply by adjusting your posture and avoiding tech neck.
What is Tech Neck
Tech neck is the result of strain on your neck from looking down at your phone, tablet, or computer. Common symptoms of tech neck pain include shoulder pain, soreness, and stiffness through the neck and spine. The average American spends more than five hours a day scrolling on their phones. All that time spent titling your head down adds unnecessary force and stress to the neck. In fact, a study by Surgical Technology International found that a 60-degree angle – the average tilt needed to look at a phone – can increase force on your neck by up to 60 pounds!
Dangers of Tech Neck
While many individuals live with minor discomforts caused by tech neck, more serious complications can occur if symptoms are left unresolved. Here is a table demonstrating common complaints:
|Minor Symptoms||Major Symptoms|
|Posture problems||Back pain|
|Jaw pain||Shoulder pain|
|Reduced mobility caused by stiffness||Pinched nerve(s)|
How to Prevent Tech Neck
One of the most effective ways to prevent tech neck is to limit your time on handheld electronic devices. In the modern, device-driven era, screen restriction is not always feasible. If that’s the case, there are several other ways to avoid the dreaded tech neck, such as:
- Keep your computer monitor at eye level
- Take breaks often (2-3 minutes every half hour)
- Utilize ergonomic office chairs with good lumbar support to prevent slouching
- Stay physically active throughout the week – ellipticals, stationary bicycles, walking, or swimming are examples of aerobic activities that will not add strain to the neck
- Strengthen and stretch your muscles – over time, muscle imbalances can develop due to long-term forward head posture. To prevent these imbalances, it helps to strengthen and stretch your chest, neck, and upper back muscles. Keeping these muscles in good shape helps support the weight of your head and minimize strain on your cervical spine. Effective movements may include:
- Bow pose
- Upper trapezius stretch
- Chin tucks
If you have a sedentary job, it is important to get up and walk around for a few minutes every 30 minutes. This will improve your circulation and allow you to relive pressure on your spine.
The spine team at Raleigh Orthopaedic consists of board-certified, fellowship-trained spine surgeons, Dr. Mikles and Dr. Thibaudeau, who are trained to treat strains, sprains, fractures, and other spinal conditions or injuries. The spine surgeons collaborate with non-operative physicians who are also spinal specialists (physiatrists) to treat most problems without surgery. For problems that might benefit from surgical treatment, the spine surgeons perform surgery using the most modern techniques and in a minimally-invasive fashion when possible.
Our neck and back specialists are available at all of our clinics in Wake County, NC.
SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT
Click here or call us at (919) 781-5600 to schedule an appointment with one of our spinal specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our Raleigh Orthopaedic Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.
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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.