The prevalence of technology in our daily lives is shaping our lives and bodies, in an unexpected, yet alarming way. Recently, smartphone users now spend an average of 2-4 hours a day with their heads tilted, which has generated the term “tech neck”.
What is Tech Neck?
Tech neck is a repetitive stress injury to the neck. By holding your head in a forward/downward position for extended periods of time can cause this. This causes excessive amounts of tension in the deep muscles of your neck and across the shoulders. Furthermore, you may experience acute and chronic pain, alongside poor posture. This issue is prevalent in handheld-device users.
As shown above, more weight and pressure is placed on your neck, spine and shoulders as you tilt your head. It is the same as carry a small child on your shoulders when you tilt your head at a 60 degree angle. As a result, you may experience neck and shoulder pain and stiffness, headaches, tingling or numbness in hands and blurred vision.
“Horn-Like Growths” from Tech Neck
A recent study documented bone spurs resembling “horns”, growing on human skulls. However, it was found that the spurs formed when pressure was exerted on the neck/spine whilst looking down at smartphones over time.
After inspecting hundreds of X-rays of adults aged 18-30, a study found bone growths on the back of nearly all of the participants heads. These growths resembled horns and now we have the term “TECH NECK!”.
Posture apps are a thing? Really?
There are a number of ways to help avoid the damaging affects of tech neck, and these are:
- Raise devices to eye level and look down with your eyes not your head
- Practise good posture by standing straight, chin tucked in and shoulders pulled back
- Download a posture app, which tracks posture based on the tilt angle of your phone & suggests useful stretches.
- Make use of a device holder or stand so your arms & shoulders can relax
- Set reminders every 15-20 mins to remind yourself to take breaks from your device
- Regularly and gently stretch your neck
And chiropractors are in the 21st century too
Due to tech neck, there has been an increase in shoulder and neck pain because of poor posture, muscle tension and misalignments. Gentle, safe and specialised physical manipulations can help realign the neck and spine, whilst relieving tension in surrounding muscles. The Bedford Chiropractic Clinic also carry our posture scans and sEMGs to identify areas of high muscle tension and misalignments, to then treat these areas. Deep tissue and trigger point massages for the upper back and shoulders are also very effective.