A majority of teens and adults use technology with handheld devices. Unlike television, these devices are viewed by holding naturally in the hand or hands, but because of this holding position, the head must tilt down to view the device. This repeated positioning of the head is resulting in different physical issues. With the discovery of these physical complaints, “Tech Neck” was recognized as not only a diagnosis, but a health concern.
The average human head weighs around 10 pounds. With a slight tilt of the head, at around 15 degrees, the pressure on the neck can be over 25 lbs. With a 60 degree tilt, that pressure on the neck can cause the equivalent effect of holding up 60 pounds. This repeated pressure on the neck, and more importantly the spinal cord, results in many physical problems. Some of these are severe.
The concern about Tech Neck came with the widespread frequency of this injury and also the occurrence in younger people. Kids were developing hunchbacks and scoliosis because of the injury.
Because the severity of longterm consequences, it is important to adjust habits. Tech Neck is easily recognized by the amount of time spent on devices, coupled with the physical symptoms it is causing. Those symptoms, or physical issues, are pain in the neck, back, and shoulders. Other indicators to look for are poor posture, headaches, nerve disruption, and loss of hand strength.
What To Do
Once Tech Neck is realized, there is an explanation for pain and difficulty you may have been experiencing. But that mystery being solved is not enough. To avoid more serious complications and lifelong pain, there must be changes made to break habits with tech device use.
When you are aware of your daily use on devices, it is time to cut back. But, while limiting time on devices will help, exercises must accompany your limited use to counter the strain on your neck.
One such exercise is to lie on your back on a bed, with your head at the foot of the bed. For 30 seconds, lie with your head completely on the bed, repeat two more times, but move the head down further with half of it supported by the bed. Finally, the last time, have only the neck supported. After completing 30 seconds with each position, raise back slowly. Do this nightly. Other daily exercises include working on posture and strengthening neck and shoulder muscles. When working at a desk or computer for long periods, don’t forget to get up hourly and stretch the spine and neck.