We all love our smartphones, tablets, and laptops. But as it turns out, we may be paying the price for our devotion to technology. Tech neck is a term used to describe the pain and stiffness that occurs in your upper back, neck, and shoulders as a result of prolonged screen time all day.
Essentially, this condition is caused by poor posture, such as hunching over, which causes the muscles in the front of your body to weaken while simultaneously causing those in the back of your body to tighten up. This is a common problem of our modern age, especially where we’re constantly surrounded by situations that encourage poor posture.
In this article, you’ll find the dangers of ‘tech neck’ and how you can avoid them.
1. Can Develop Chronic Pain
Perhaps you’ve experienced an occasional tightness or soreness in your neck after a long day at work or after browsing the internet or scrolling your social media feed from your phone. It can be easy to dismiss such a condition, thinking that a good night’s rest can do the trick and relieve the pain. However, frequent pressure and tension in your neck could lead to developing chronic pain. And in most cases, this pain can extend up to your upper back and shoulders.
If you’re experiencing discomfort or sharp pains in your neck, upper back, and shoulders, it could be your body’s way of telling you something about your posture when sitting—or even sleeping. And one of the ways to help you manage symptoms is to consult a chiropractor. You can visit masseyfamilychiropractic.com.au and other chiropractic care homes to learn more.
2. Spinal Degeneration
When you have a tech neck, the spine is generally put under pressure. And over time, this tension can lead to spinal degeneration, which occurs when the discs in your spine begin to dry out. The discs are the soft cushions between vertebrae that support and allow movement. When they degenerate and shrink, there’s less room for motion between vertebrae.
In some cases, this can pressure nerves and cause pain or numbness in your arms or legs. It can also make it harder for you to stand up straight because your back muscles aren’t working as efficiently due to poor posture and alignment issues from having a tech neck over time.
3. Pinched Nerves
As briefly mentioned above, one of the effects of tech neck is adding pressure to your nerves. If you’ve ever experienced a pinched nerve, you know how serious it can be. Symptoms include pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms or legs.
Pinched nerves occur when there’s too much pressure surrounding the nerves. For instance, when sitting in front of a computer or desk, some people tend to slouch over with their shoulders hunched around their ears and elbows bent outward. In such a case, it’s easy for the neck muscles to tense up over time because of all this tension in them.
4. Long Term Headaches
If you have a tech neck, then you may also be prone to experience headaches. This is because the muscles in your neck are constantly working to hold your head upright. A tight neck can sometimes lead to chronic migraines and tension headaches.
If you’re experiencing regular headaches, it may be worth to seek medical help to rule out other causes such as stress, poor posture, muscle tension, or poor breathing technique (yawning).
5. Compromised Breathing
One of the most dangerous side effects of tech neck is compromised breathing. When you spend long periods with your head tilted forward, you can have a ‘sunken chest’ appearance and feel like there’s insufficient oxygen getting to your lungs.
This can cause dizziness, headaches, and even fainting spells if you’re not careful. By taking regular breaks and stretching out during those breaks, you can keep blood flowing properly through your body so that you avoid developing respiratory issues down the road.
6. Weak Muscles
Weak muscles in the neck can be a result of tech neck. When you tilt your head forward and down, it causes stress on the ligaments and tendons of the neck. This can result in a weakening of those muscles that provide support for your head.
Weak muscles are also more likely to cause more severe problems like a pinched nerve. To avoid this, it’s essential to strengthen your neck muscles with exercises like chin tucks or crunches that target strengthening specific areas around the spine.
How To Avoid Tech Neck
There are various exercises and simple tricks to help you fight tech neck. To start, always sit up straight and pay attention to how you use your phone, laptop, or desktop computer. The less strain you put on your neck by slouching, the better. Look at the screen straight on and as close to eye level as possible. Also, hold your phone or place your screen in a place where it’s easy to see without straining your eyes or neck muscles.
Moreover, don’t overdo it with screen time; if you can reduce your gadget use in a day, the better. But if that’s not possible, try not to look at your phone or screen for more than 20 minutes at a time—the ideal amount of time is between 10 and 15 minutes per session.
Tech neck is a serious problem that must be addressed. We all use our phones and other gadgets every day, but if we ignore how we use them, it can lead to some significant health problems down the road. Always sit up straight and pay attention to your posture when using your gadgets.