‘Tech neck’ is a common modern-day condition, as wonderful as technology can be in keeping us connected, prolonged and excess use of our devices can have negative effects on our health.
Firstly, let’s consider alignment.
The human spine resembles an ‘S’ curvature; the neck and lower back curves inwards and the upper back curves outwards. This curvature enables optimal balance of our body’s structures including our muscles and organs. When we hold our body in poor alignment, it can cause excess strain which can lead to discomfort, pain and sub optimal functioning of our bodily systems including digestion, sleep and concentration.
In the case of ‘Tech Neck’; the neck or cervical spine is being placed forwards relative to rest of the spine. This causes the muscles that hold your head upright to become aggravated, tired and painful. In some instances, ‘Tech Neck’ can place pressure on the nerves, irritating them leading to altered sensations in the arm’s and/or hands including pins and needles and weakness.
The head weighs around 5kg and each time your head comes forwards 30 degrees, you’re loading your neck with an additional 18kg. Typical ‘Tech Neck’ posture can cause up to 28kg of excess stress on your neck muscles, joints and nerves!
Tips to improve ‘Tech Neck’
Hold your phone up at eye level as much as possible – set a reminder on your phones home screen to help maintain better posture.
Regularly stretch and mobilise your neck, upper back and shoulders. If you have a desk-based job, stand up and move around every 20-30 minutes. Even just a few minutes of moving can help by giving your body some much needed movement.
Have a good workplace set up; a supportive chair, correct screen height and arm rest can make you less prone to injury, boost your productivity and well-being.
Stay hydrated. Aim for 2-3 litres per day, or more when you exercise. Our body’s systems, from our muscles to our cells, require hydration to work at their best. Dehydration contributes to painful muscles and joints, headaches, poor sleep and problems concentrating. We lose water through sweat and urination, so drinking water will help your body stay nourished and can even lessen pain severity.