Tech Neck

What is Tech Neck?

Tech Neck is the pain and stiffness in the neck area caused by constantly using your Smart Phone and other devices. On average we spend 3 hours 23minutes per day on our devices with 16-24yr olds spending closer to 4 hours! Most of us don’t even realise how often we check our devices until this pain occurs.

What is the cause of Tech Neck?

 Our necks are designed to support the average 10-12 pound head, this weight becomes significantly heavier when tiled forward and is no longer supported by the rest of the body. In fact, the amount of force exerted on the cervical (upper) spine as a result of this downward head tilt can reach up to 60 pounds of downward force. It is no wonder that the muscles in the neck supporting the head begin to ache and hurt.

Symptoms include:

  • Stiff neck: soreness and difficulty moving the neck in particular after long periods on a device.
  • Pain: it can be localised in one spot or spread over a larger area. The pain can be a dull ache or a sharp stabbing pain
  • Radiating pain: the pain can travel down into the shoulder or down the arm
  • Headaches: sub-occipital muscles tightness can cause tension headaches
  • Muscular weakness: mainly in the shoulders; traps, rhomboids and into the rotator cuff muscles.

How to treat Tech Neck

  • Massage – regular massage is a brilliant tool to help relax the muscles either side of the neck and into the shoulders to relieve the pain you are feeling
  • Regular neck movements: rotations, side bending and chin tuck exercises (see my Instagram: mollysportsmassage for exercises)
  • Ice pack on the spine – this will help to reduce any inflammation in the cervical spine and heat packs on the muscles to help them to relax

How to prevent Tech Neck

Cut the time on your devices is the key to prevent tech neck. I understand that people rely on devices to do their jobs, but you must take regular breaks and make sure that your desk set up is correct. When using Smart Phones try to position the device higher up close to eye level to reduce the stress on the neck.

Devices have become such an integral part of our lives and as they are relatively new it is hard to say exactly what the long-term effects on our bodies will be. However, by using preventative measures it is possible to keep that pain in the neck away.

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