If you’re like most, you spend a significant amount of time hunched over a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Often, the time spent using technology can result in neck pain, referred to as tech neck.
Tech neck is the pain or stiffness that occurs when your neck is bent forward for an extended amount of time — such as when playing games on your phone, long texting conversations, or hours of work on your laptop. In this position, your neck must support the weight of your head, and after a while, you feel significant discomfort.
Here, Dr. Michael Hennessy and the team at Texas Spine Consultants share their five tips on avoiding and easing tech neck.
1. Raise your screen
To prevent your neck from unnatural curvature, consider raising your screen or monitor to eye level. This means holding your smartphones and tablets up while you’re casually scrolling through social media or texting so you’re not looking down. In your work space, this could mean elevating your monitor or even investing in a standing desk. Keeping your technology at eye level keeps your neck in a natural position.
2. Choose a chair with a headrest
If getting a standing desk or raising your screen isn’t an option, consider sitting in a chair with a headrest. Keeping your head in constant contact with the headrest decreases the amount of time your neck spends bent forward.Tech neck is caused by a lack of support, and a proper headrest can help you maintain the correct posture and support needed to reduce the effects of tech neck.
3. Spread out your screen time
In such a connected world, it can be difficult to take a break from those screens. However, stepping away from your computer or devices, even for a few minutes every hour, decreases the amount of time your neck spends in a bad position.
You can download an app or wear an exercise tracker to remind you when it’s time to get up and move, or you can even set an old-school timer. Take a moment to look out the window, go get a drink of water, or simply lean back and close your eyes.
4. Perform daily exercises and stretches
While you’re taking those breaks, it’s a good time to get in a few daily exercises and stretches to strengthen your neck and alleviate pain. Gently stretching your neck brings some relief. Better yet, use an exercise ball and work on your core strength — this reduces pain and stiffness in your neck and gives your whole body a better chance of maintaining proper posture and supporting your neck and head.
5. Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water is important to your overall health, but it can aid in relieving neck pain as well. The discs that cushion the vertebrae your spine are made up mostly of water. Staying hydrated helps keep the discs in your spine healthy and flexible resulting in less pain and discomfort.
If your tech neck is severe or your pain worsens over time, Texas Spine Consultants provides several nonsurgical treatments, such as pain medication, nerve blocks, physical therapy, and massage therapy. If your neck pain is caused by a condition more serious than tech neck, Dr. Hennessy performs a thorough examination and diagnostic testing to determine the source of your pain and the best treatment plan, starting with the least-invasive treatment possible.
When you’re ready to stop rubbing your sore neck, contact us today to schedule an initial appointment.