The Dangers of Tech Neck

Are you looking down at your phone or tablet to read this blog post? If so, your bent neck may be contributing to a painful condition called tech neck, also called “text neck.” 

Tech neck is a common repetitive stress injury caused by the hours you spend bending your neck to look down at your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Specifically, it refers to the soreness, pain, and stiffness in your neck, back, and shoulders from bowing your head, and the strain it puts on your neck muscles. 

Who gets tech neck? Everyone who bends their head forward several hours a day to read, watch, or exchange content. With the average American spending roughly five hours and 53 minutes a day with digital media, most people experience tech neck at some point in their lives.

Tech neck dangers and complications

Neck and back muscle soreness used to be common among older adults. But now with teens forging the path in media use, consumption, and digital addiction, more teens and young adults are experiencing what was once solely the domain of middle-aged and senior adults.

The average head weighs about 10-12 pounds. Your head increases pressure on your neck for every inch you bend it forward. Bending your head to your chin can increase the effective weight of your head to 60 pounds. That’s a lot of pressure on your neck and shoulder muscles. 

In addition to strained and sore muscles, tech neck can also affect your oxygen flow and make your heart work harder. When your chest is concave, which is the position people often assume to read content on their digital devices, you restrict your lungs’ ability to expand and take in oxygen. When your body takes in less oxygen, your heart needs to work harder to distribute more oxygen-carrying blood through your body.

Ruptured or bulging discs are another potential problem of tech neck. Straining your muscles can cause them to tighten up. Tight muscles put pressure on your discs, which are gel-like cushions between your vertebrae, and cause them to break down and bulge or rupture. A ruptured or bulging disc is very painful and may require surgery to repair. 

How to prevent tech neck

Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to avoid tech neck without ditching your phone. For starters, we at Joyce Family Chiropractic and Wellness urge you to raise your device closer to your head, rather than lower your head closer to your device. Other ways you prevent tech neck include:

For neck pain relief, visit Dr. John Joyce at Joyce Family Chiropractic and Wellness for a comprehensive evaluation. He’ll review your daily habits, including your work environment and work tasks, and recommend a personalized treatment plan to help you find pain relief. Treatments may include physical therapy, massage therapy, and chiropractic treatment.

If you’re experiencing tech neck pain or any other kind of neck pain, call Joyce Family Chiropractic and Wellness to find relief. You can also make an appointment online through this website.

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