If you’re like most people, you spend an average of 2-4 hours per day looking down at a smartphone as you read, scroll, or compose emails or texts. And chances are, you do so in a neck-bent position.
Tech neck is a term used to describe the position of your head and neck when you hold a device at waist or chest level as you look down at the screen. While the average adult head weighs 10-12 pounds, add a 60-degree angle and this can place up to 60 pounds worth of pressure on your spine, leading to potentially serious problems, such as chronic neck pain, herniated discs, and even the need for surgery.
Read on to learn about ways to lower your risk for tech neck-related complications. For more information or to seek support, book an appointment online with us at AllCare Chiropractic. Or you can call one of our offices in Bowie, Laurel, or Annapolis, Maryland.
Even taking 30 seconds to rest your eyes, stretch, and stand up straighter can go a long way toward preventing or alleviating tech neck issues. Aim to do so every 15 minutes or so while using a computer or handheld device. To make this easier, consider adding alerts to your phone when you know you’ll be poised before a screen for some time, such as while reading a book or catching up on a large number of emails.
You can invite even more perks of breaks by stepping away from your device completely every hour. Spend your break time walking around for the benefits of improved circulation. Consider grabbing a healthy snack or glass of water while you’re at it. Doing so will likely refresh your body and mind, making any work you tend to afterward sharper and less tiresome.
Many simple exercises can strengthen and tone the muscles in your neck and back area, which can minimize strain. Do planks on the ground or with your upper body propped on your arms over a desk or table, for example, to keep your neck and back aligned. Or lift weights at your side, from a standing or kneeling position. If you have a medical condition, make sure you approve any exercises with your doctor.
When you’re using a computer or other device at a desk, aim to keep the screen at eye level so you won’t be looking down constantly. An external keyboard and mouse or ergonomic stand can help. An ideal computer station position involves your feet on the floor, your wrists straight, and your elbows supported.
While you may not have much choice as to screen time quantity for work or school purposes, you can carve out recreational time away from technology. Studies show that spending more time outdoors can improve memory and mood while lowering blood pressure. And if you work exercise into your free time, going for hikes or taking a yoga class, your neck and back muscles will benefit, too. Sometimes a bit of respite from your device is just what the doctor ordered.
If you’d like to take tech neck out of the picture, please give us a call or use the online scheduling tool on our website to set up an appointment at one of our three locations.