Imagine carrying a load of 60 pounds on your neck for several hours every day. Sound far-fetched? It’s not. The average adult’s head weighs about 10-12 pounds, but if your neck is bent down at a 60-degree angle, its load increases to 60 pounds.
When you spend most of the day with your head bent down to look at your ever-present phone or laptop screen, you’re putting 60 pounds of pressure on muscles, nerves, bones, and tissue that were only designed to hold 12 pounds worth of stress.
This problem doesn’t have a formal name, but is often called “tech neck” thanks to the technology that keeps our gaze glued to a screen. Dr. Henry Small in Houston is a neck pain specialist who wants to help you fight tech neck with these tips.
What’s the danger of tech neck?
So much extra strain on your neck leads to a much higher than normal level of wear and tear on your spine. This can cause anything from general neck pain to discs that develop tears or even become herniated and require surgery to repair.
When this area of your spine is compressed or misaligned, it can also irritate your nerves and cause pain that radiates all the way down to your fingers. If you begin to develop pain and don’t change your habits, your tech neck could turn into consistent pain and even arthritis.
How can you prevent tech neck?e sol
Tired of feeling the strain in your neck? These tips will help relieve the pressure:
Take a break
The best solution is to limit your use of your phone or laptop so that you’re not looking down as much. If this is not realistic for you — if you them for work, for instance — at least try to take a short break every 15 minutes or so.
Even just a few minutes of looking up and doing something else will give your neck a break. If you’re having trouble remembering to look up, set an alarm on your phone. You can even do a few stretches during your break — tuck your chin down and hold for a few seconds, then turn and do the same on each side.
Practice good posture
Keep your head up, your shoulders back, and your back straight. This will feel uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it, the stronger your muscles will become, and the more natural it will feel. This good posture will naturally keep you from looking down at your screen as much.
Instead of holding your phone down low, bring it up closer to eye level so you don’t have to bend your neck down. You can prop your arms up on your desk or a pillow to keep the phone closer to your natural line of sight. This will make a big difference in the stress you place on your neck and shoulders.
As you move through your everyday routine, try to be aware of when you’re looking down. This in itself will make a big difference in preventing the neck pain that comes with tech neck.
If you find yourself in more pain than these lifestyle adjustments can fix, call Dr. Henry Small in Houston for a consultation. He can put together a treatment plan that will relieve your pain as soon as possible!