As society moves through the digital age, it’s no secret that the time Americans spend on gadgets has increased considerably. Notification bubbles and chimes from phones also distract you from the strain you put on your neck muscles. Continually looking down at your phone adds an incredible amount of weight to that carried by your neck, resulting in unwanted pressure.
The act of stressing your muscles while on your phone, tablet, or computer can result in complications that progressively worsen with time. “Tech neck” is the buzzword for the phenomenon causing some severe health complications.
If you’re concerned about pain associated with muscle tension, our team of experts and chiropractic professionals at Advantage Spinal Dynamics & Innovative Medicine specializes in a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions and can address all of your concerns with our integrative approach.
What is tech neck?
Tech neck is a condition brought on by continually looking down at your phone or computer monitor for long periods of time. Working on digital monitors puts a significant strain on your eyes, causing dryness and vision complications. It also causes the muscles in the back of your neck to have to contract enough to be able to keep your head up.
The more you look down, the more those muscles have to stretch to try to keep your head up. When these muscles get tired, it leads to wear-and-tear on the spine. The discomfort you experience as a result is often a symptom of a slipped or herniated disc. Constantly bending your neck to read bright screens could be responsible for a severe neck injury.
Signs and symptoms of tech neck
Tension in your neck can be the result of several factors. Here are some symptoms to look out for if you believe that bad habits with technology are responsible for suddenly sore or cramped neck muscles.
- Pain in the upper back
- Pain between your shoulder blades
- Stiff or sore neck
- Neck spasms
In more severe situations, patients report experiencing pain whenever they try to lift their heads after looking down for long periods of time. Tight neck muscles strain to keep your head up and start putting more pressure on the discs in your neck. When this happens, the discs wear out, and they can even rupture, resulting in a severe injury.
Symptoms of a severe neck injury tend to be brought on by a pinched nerve. The nerve can cause weakness, numbness, or a tingling sensation in the arms. With increased activity on your devices, the strain on your neck can result in a slight curving of the spine.
At Advantage Spinal Dynamics & Innovative Medicine, Brandon Riebling, DC, can help alleviate your painful symptoms with his expertise in advanced treatment methods.
Treating and preventing symptoms of tech neck
Exercise relieves constant neck pain. Walking, jogging, and using an elliptical or stationary bike regularly can help promote a healthy lifestyle and ease tension in your neck and back. Aerobic exercise works by sending oxygenated blood to those tired muscles and alleviates painful inflammation that results in soreness.
When sitting at your desk, adjust the way you sit. Most people believe that sitting straight is indicative of good posture. In reality, a better way to sit is with the chair reclining at a 25-35 degree angle. When you’re sitting, you should lean back as much as is possible while working to distribute most of your body weight into the chair and not down on your spine.
Sitting for extended periods can be dangerous to your health. You should be mindful and take short breaks every half hour. Use these breaks to stretch your muscles and adjust your posture. Open your arms as far as they reach extending the distance between your chin and chest as well as between your shoulders. Stretch your neck back and look up as far as is comfortable.
When to seek a medical professional
Pain is an indication of more serious issues. If your symptoms become debilitating or unmanageable, consult with Dr. Riebling about advanced treatment options. Chiropractic care helps by addressing the placement and alignment issues affecting the neck and spine. Spinal manipulation works by correcting these curvatures and misalignments.
Regular chiropractic care can help eliminate pain altogether. If non-operative measures don’t seem to be addressing ongoing problems, it may be time to consider surgery.
If you’re interested in chiropractic care, trust our team of professionals. Call our office today or book an appointment on our website.