The Dangers of Tech Neck

We live in an age of plentiful technological advancements. However, there are some drawbacks to our age of innovation, and tech neck is one such problem as 58% of American adults with smartphones are at risk for this painful problem. 

Tech neck is an irritating condition caused by looking down on our phones, laptops, and other kinds of screens for an extended period. Staying in one position for too long can also exacerbate the issue. Tech neck is essentially a repetitive strain injury that presents as severe pain in your neck, shoulders, and sometimes lower back.  

Tech neck, or text neck, is a stress injury, and it can actually cause you serious problems if left untreated. At South Texas Spinal Clinic, your health is our greatest concern. We’ve compiled this helpful guide so that you can understand the dangers of tech neck.

Why tech neck is potentially dangerous

Spending so much time in a constant state of looking down, head dropped forward, slowly alters the natural and healthy curve of your neck. As time passes, this unnatural state leads to a misalignment in your spine, strained muscles, spasms, and eventual wear and tear on your neck and its surrounding structures. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, for every inch that you drop your head forward, you double the load on your muscles. So, looking down on your smartphone for continuous and extended periods of time can place approximately 60 pounds of weight on your neck, when it can only support around 10 to 12 pounds. 

And, the dangers aren’t just restricted to your spinal and musculoskeletal health. When you sit in a slumped position for so long, you restrict the ability of your lungs to expand, thereby impairing their capacity. When you inhale less oxygen in this fashion, you place a strain on your heart, as it must work harder to circulate more blood and oxygen throughout your body.

Tips for preventing tech neck

Although most of us need to spend time looking at so many screens for work, there are a couple of things that you can do to prevent tech neck. 

Your first defense lies in learning proper posture. You’ll want to keep your back straight, so that if you see your profile in a mirror, you can draw a straight line from your ear to your shoulder.

You’ll also want to arch your neck and upper back backward. To achieve this, pull your shoulders so that they align under your ears. Shoulder extensions and other stretches can help as well.

Finally, be sure to look forward as often as you can. Instead of looking down at your lap, raise your phone or device so that it’s at eye level. Be sure to adjust your desktop and work computers so that the monitors are at eye level as well. 

If you’re experiencing neck pain, tech neck may be the culprit. Call us, or schedule an appointment right on our website today. 

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