“Tech neck,” also referred to as “text neck,” is becoming an increasingly problematic and prevalent issue in the modern age of 9-5 computer jobs and cell phones glued between our fingers; as reflected in the name. This shift in spinal alignment occurs due to repetitive strain or injury to the cervical spine as a result of tilting the neck to stare at a screen for extended periods.
When you spend too long in this position, the amount of weight bared by your neck increases, leading to pain and inflammation. This pain may radiate to other parts of the body and even cause communication issues within the nervous system, perpetuating disease and preventing healing.
Our integrative chiropractor shares what steps you can take to reverse the problem of tech neck and how to prevent it in the first place!
Tech Necks Everywhere You Look
Evidence suggests with a substantial increase in opportunities to work from home (and therefore, to sit on the couch, in bed, or at a less-than-ideal desk setup), these alignment problems are becoming even more common.
According to “pre-work from home” research, an alarming 27-48% of workers across industries experience tech neck each year.
Chances are that throughout the day you are almost constantly using a device with a screen. You use a computer or phone while working and then watch TV or use a tablet once you clock out.
How Spinal Misalignment Leads to Pain
Whenever you maintain an awkward position for extended periods, such as bending your neck forward or in a jutted-out position, there’s a good chance of developing muscle imbalances, irritation, and inflammation of critical tendons in the neck and shoulders.
An adult skull is quite heavy, but the spine is intricately designed to evenly distribute the weight for minimal pressure. When you fail to maintain a neutral position, you significantly increase the force of your head on your spine. It may feel like it weighs over fifty pounds!
This leads to muscles in your neck and upper back muscles to become fatigued, sore, stiff, and painful.
Prevent Tech Neck with These Tips
Tech neck can occur anywhere. It’s important to have a desk setup that encourages healthy alignment with the right desk height, chair support, and computer positioning. However, this alone isn’t enough to prevent neck pain.
It’s also important to frequently take breaks to stretch, rest, and fine-tune your work environment. The body doesn’t like remaining in one position for extended periods.
If you are working from home, avoid spending long amounts of time on the sofa, in bed, or even at the kitchen table. In these cases, you increase your risk of developing neck issues.
Prevent neck problems by focusing on:
Break periods with movement
No matter where you work, proper ergonomics will make it easier for you to get your job done with lowered stress on the upper body.
Take a look at your:
Work area organization
Computer monitor position
Alignment of neck, shoulders, lower back, and wrists
If you use a laptop, consider purchasing a stand to elevate your screen so it is at eye level. You can even use a stack of books if you aren’t ready to invest. In this case, you’ll also want to purchase an external keyboard.
When typing, your wrists should be level with your elbows, which should rest at a 90-degree angle with your upper arms parallel to your body. Your lower back should have adequate lumbar support, and your neck should be in a neutral position with your spine.
Stretching and strengthening your neck, upper back, and shoulders can improve mobility and are easy enough to do while sitting at your desk.
Exercise works wonders for your overall health by preventing injuries and relieving tension.
Try the following, but make sure you’re completing them gently and with proper form!
Lateral Neck Flexion (Side to Side)
If you are experiencing severe neck pain, it’s best to first visit our integrative chiropractic doctor at Seed and Soil Wellness to develop the path to health best for your unique body and situation. This can prevent further damage and ensure there isn’t a more serious underlying issue.
Taking breaks is often overlooked since we are often rushing to meet deadlines or simply aren’t paying attention to how long we’ve been sitting in one spot. Breaks are very helpful for resting tired muscles as well as relieving tension.
Set a reminder every hour to take a few minutes to stand, stretch, walk around, and switch positions. Regular movement throughout the day is vital for your lymphatic system and immunity, your heart health, your musculoskeletal system, and more!
When to Visit Seed and Soil Wellness
Fortunately, with a bit of consistency and effort, it is more than possible to reverse spinal misalignments in the majority of cases. This can be very important for preventing degenerative diseases and arthritis as well as improving the health of your nervous system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and immunity.
The body is incredibly interconnected, and movement with proper alignment is one of the essential ways we improve communication throughout the body. If you’re concerned about your neck health, it’s always best to visit a doctor. Reach out to Seed and Soil Wellness if you have neck pain along with:
Severe or worsening pain or headaches
Continuous pain even with consistent conservative treatment
Weakness, numbness, or tingling in the arms and hands
Pain that is disrupting your sleep
Existing health problems involving the neck
Learn More > Why You Should Visit a Chiropractor
Realign with Chiropractic Care in Safety Harbor
If you’re dealing with musculoskeletal pain or other uncomfortable symptoms throughout your body, it’s likely time to schedule an appointment at our integrative medical clinic. We will get to the root of your concerns to develop the proper protocol for your circumstances.
With the proper resources and the right mindset, wellness doesn’t seem so impossible. Given the right support, your body is more than capable of healing and returning to a place of homeostasis.
Book your in-person or virtual appointment with Dr. Damon at Seed and Soil Wellness today!