If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably spending more and more time on your phone, tablet, or laptop each day. Believe it or not, those minutes spent reading, texting, or catching up on your favorite sitcom end up averaging 2-4 hours each day — or 700-1,400 hours a year. That’s a long time to be bent over your device!
While your screen time may be keeping you more connected, it’s taking a toll on your posture and leading to a rise in “tech neck” symptoms.
At Balance Wellspace in Roanoke, Virginia, our team recognizes firsthand the role your spine plays in your overall wellness. We can help you understand the dangers of tech neck and provide personalized treatment plans to relieve your symptoms.
Technology and your neck
Tipping your head forward from time to time rarely causes serious back or neck pain. However, continually bending your head and neck forward while using your device at chest or waist level is another story.
An adult’s head weighs an average of 10-12 pounds. When your body and spine are properly aligned, your neck supports this weight easily in a neutral position. As you tip your head forward, however, gravity increases the strain of this weight on your neck.
Even at a slight bend of 15 degrees, you experience an extra 27 pounds of pressure to your neck. Bend your head farther forward and you intensify this stress level: Bending your neck at a 60-degree angle can put up to 60 pounds of pressure on your neck.
As your muscles, nerves, and spine experience ongoing strain from your head tipping forward, tech neck symptoms develop.
Recognizing tech neck
Among common signs of tech neck are pain and decreased mobility in your upper back, shoulders, or neck.
Additional tech neck symptoms include:
- Numbness or tension in your fingers
- Compressed nerves
- Herniated discs
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- Jaw pain
- Balance issues
You can even experience physical changes from tech neck, like rounded shoulders and a forward-set position of your head.
Avoiding tech neck
Don’t worry; you don’t have to give up your favorite devices to prevent tech neck symptoms. However, we do recommend taking several steps to avoid these problems, including:
- Practicing good posture
- Using your devices at eye level
- Taking plenty of breaks
- Increasing your daily physical activity, such as adding exercises to strengthen your muscles
- Engaging in regular stretching to soothe neck and muscle tension
You can also benefit from regular chiropractic care, spinal adjustments, or massage therapy to correct alignment or muscular issues, especially in your cervical spine and neck.