Whether you rely on a smartphone or a tablet, technology keeps you in touch with friends, provides the information you need, and helps you organize your schedule. But while you’re engaged with your electronics, chances are you’re not paying any attention to your posture.
If you’re like most people, you bend their head and hunch your shoulders. Before long, you develop neck pain and stiffness because all the tissues in your neck are stressed and strained, a condition known as tech neck.
At iMed Regeneration Center, we see an ever-increasing number of patients suffering from tech neck. While we offer comprehensive care to relieve your pain, we’d rather share our tips to help you prevent the problem.
How tech neck develops
When most people use their electronic devices, they hold their head slightly forward and look down. In that position, your head, which normally weighs about 12 pounds, exerts the equivalent of 50 pounds of force on your neck.
While your neck does a good job of supporting the weight of your head when you use good posture, the vertebrae weren’t built to sustain your head in a bent position. It’s only a matter of time before the pressure and weight on your neck lead to tech neck.
Five tips for avoiding tech neck
Here are our best tips for preventing tech neck:
Adjust your device and hold your head up
When you maintain good posture that keeps your head and spine properly aligned, you avoid the strain from bending your neck. Sitting up straight and keeping your head positioned above your shoulders allows your neck muscles to work without becoming stressed and cramped.
Hold your phone up or use a case or stand to hold your electronics. Either way, be sure the screen is at eye level. If you’re at a computer, raise or lower your monitor or your chair so your eyes are level with the top of the screen.
Take frequent breaks
We understand that it’s easy to lose track of time when you’re texting, emailing, and working. But beyond good posture, one of the best ways to avoid tech neck is to take a short break every 15 minutes. You only need to quickly stretch or change your position to prevent the strain on your neck.
Set time limits
If you use your device for personal use and you don’t have to get back to work, you can prevent tech neck by setting a time limit and putting the device down for a while. Disconnecting is hard when all your friends are online, but it’s a great technique if you want to give your neck a break.
Develop a stretching and strengthening regimen
A consistent exercise regimen to gently stretch and strengthen your neck muscles goes a long way toward avoiding tech neck. If you already have neck pain, let us evaluate your neck before you start an exercise program to be sure your routine doesn’t make the problem worse.
If you decide to start with your own exercises, go slowly. Remember that you should never roll your head around in a circle because rolling it back places an unhealthy amount of stress on your spine.
Don’t wait to get chiropractic care
If your tech neck doesn’t improve, don’t wait to schedule chiropractic care at iMed Regeneration Center. You may only have a little pain and a minor stiff neck at first, but if you don’t correct the problem and you keep bending your neck, you can end up with repetitive use injuries, nerve compression, and/or a misaligned spine.
We offer many chiropractic techniques that alleviate your pain and realign your neck. For example, you may benefit from chiropractic adjustments, gentle cervical mobilization, or massage therapy.
As specialists in physical rehabilitation, we develop individualized exercise programs that improve your range of motion, relax muscles, promote healing, and prevent future neck strain. After evaluating your ergonomics and posture, we help you find ways to use your electronics without the strain and develop treatment to correct your posture.
If you need help with tech neck, call us at iMed Regeneration Center in Colorado Springs or use the online booking feature to schedule a consultation.