Society’s increasing use of technology (thanks to smartphones, computers, and tablets) is leading to an increased prevalence of physical problems such as neck pain — otherwise known as tech neck.
Understanding Tech Neck
The average smartphone user spends over four hours on their device. Hunching over their screens for hours a day can cause pain and stiffness in the neck area, which is a condition called tech neck (or “text neck”).
Tech neck is a repetitive stress injury or an overuse syndrome to the neck due to holding your head in a downward and forward position for extended periods. Your neck is pretty fragile. If you spend long hours holding it at a 45-degree angle, you put excessive stress on the area.
Signs of Too Much Technology
According to physicians in Des Moines, IA, although the phrase “tech neck” refers to your neck, the symptoms can manifest in other parts of your body. Your spine stretches from your head down through your back. If the stress repeatedly occurs in one area, it will most likely spread to other regions of your body. In the case of a tech neck, your cervical spine’s bending manifests as pain in your upper back.
Other symptoms of tech neck include the following:
- Sharp pain or stiffness in the neck
- Reduced neck range motion
- Increased pain when neck flexion
Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Tech Neck
Some people brush off the condition, thinking that it’s a minor pain that will get better by tomorrow. Ignoring early warning signs of tech neck, however, may lead to the worsening of your symptoms.
In most cases, ignoring the condition will cause more pain in your neck and shoulder area. Over time, repeatedly experiencing a tech neck can result in consistent pain in the neck region, which can be more challenging to manage.
People suffering from the following conditions should be more wary of tech neck than most people:
- Cervical degenerative disc disease
- Cervical osteoarthritis
Stress associated with a tech neck can aggravate both conditions.
How Do You Treat Tech Neck?
If you are continually suffering from a tech neck, you can still achieve long-term relief with cervical traction. This treatment involves decompressing your spine by gently stretching your squished vertebrae. Cervical traction does more than offer short-term relief. The long-term benefits include the following:
- Relief from stiffness and pain while expanding your vertebrae
- Increased mobility in your neck by stretching out both vertebrae and muscles in the cervical spine
- Treat bulging or herniated discs in the neck area
- Treat pinched nerves
- Alleviate spasm pain and sprains
Other treatments include physical therapy, postural adjustments, and an ongoing exercise regimen. These treatments often produce the best outcomes compared to other solutions, such as nerve blocks and medication. Physical therapists can identify the source of your pain and address the condition by stimulating your soft tissues and moving the joints of your neck.
Technology may be a permanent fixture in today’s society, but tech neck need not be. Address the symptoms now to enjoy using your gadgets minus the pain.