Studies have shown that most Americans spend almost 8 hours a day looking at some form of screen. That’s more than the average adult sleeps.
But we don’t need reports to know that we spend a lot of time looking down. That’s obvious.
We need to know how this massive amount of screen time is causing a growing health concern and how we can fix it.
It’s a real pain in the neck
Our excessive use of screens is causing us to sit for much longer hunched over the phone or computer. Sitting in these awkward and unnatural positions is putting way too much weight on our necks.
The result is horrible neck pain which has been dubbed a trendy name called “Tech-Neck” or “Text-Neck”.
Tech-neck is associated with neck pain but it can also cause back pain, shoulder pain, headaches, and even a loss of the natural curve of the spine.
In the name of tech advancement, our attention has become increasingly focused on the digital lands we toggle between. With the combined hours we spend slouched over the phone and computer our poor necks can’t catch a break.
A study published in PLoS One found a strong link between the amount of time someone spent using their phone and the severity of their neck pain.
Aren’t our necks able to handle the weight?
Not at these angles for hours at a time.
Upright, our heads weigh between ten to twelve pounds. When texting we tend to move our head to about a 45 or 60-degree angle which places about 50 to 60 pounds of force on the neck.
Even just a fifteen-degree tilt of the neck forward can add twenty to thirty pounds of force on the neck!
The more we tilt our head forward and bend our neck the greater the head’s weight becomes and the more stress we put on our cervical spine.
Our necks aren’t meant to take on this added weight! And the longer we carry this weight the more of a toll it will take on our necks and eventually other parts of our body (hello hips).
If it gets bad enough it can even throw your spine out of line.
Is your spine out of line?
The first way to tell is if you’re experiencing neck pain.
Pain is not normal.
It’s a result of muscles working hard to quite literally save your neck. To do this the muscles surrounding the spine will contract and overcompensate. Best case, you only experience pain.
Worse case it throws your spine out of line or develops an unnatural curve at the base of the neck.
Keep your chin up
In general, we believe mindfulness towards your posture and amount of screen time is a good place to start. We know you won’t suddenly stop looking down at your devices but the goal is to be more aware about these habits. Then you’ll have a better chance at preventing them.
It’s not too late to show your neck you care. Give it some TLC with these tips:
- Posture, posture, posture! Un-hunch and roll your shoulders and head back
- Bring the phone or tablet up to eye level
- Bring the computer to eye level and closer to you if it’s too far
- Strengthen your neck with neck mobility exercises
- Stretch your neck with gentle stretches (no cracking the neck!)
- Take breaks! For 5-10 minutes take a walk, stretch, or name clouds in the sky
- Working from home? Make sure you have an ergonomic workstation!
Can Chiropractic Help Your Tech-neck?
Yes! Chiropractic care is a go-to therapy for “tech-neck” because it’s so effective.
You never want to leave neck pain untreated. Doing so can significantly reduce your quality of life and domino effect into many other health problems down the road.
While the above tips are great for maintenance, we specialize in giving quick, natural relief for neck pain. When you come to Petett Chiropractic we’ll evaluate you as a whole. Not just your spine. We’ll determine the root of your pain and identify any areas of restricted movement.
We’ll put our necks out for you
Many of our clients leave with better mobility and pain relief. If you are suffering from neck pain and want to feel better contact Petett Chiropractic today. Our team of experts can help you get your posture back and live pain-free.