By E. Scott Middlebrooks, MD
What is Tech Neck? Tech neck is neck pain caused by the repetitive strain and injury to the structures of the neck, especially the muscles. Many of us rely on computers at work, school and home. Then add our cell phones and tablets; it is easy to see how we average at least 7 hours of screen time each day.
Specifically, using our mobile devices puts a great deal of strain on our neck. One study estimated as much as 60 pounds, depending on the angle of the neck (as seen in the image above). This can create pain, stiffness and soreness in the neck and shoulders, as well as muscle weakness and headaches. But there are ways to prevent the pain. Check out a few of them below.
5 Tips to Prevent Pain from Tech Neck:
1. Adjust Your Computer Screen
If you sit at a computer for many hours each day, make sure your screen is at eye level. This will prevent strain from looking down while you work.
2. Give Your Neck a Break
Whether you work looking at a computer screen or spend many hours on your mobile device, it is a good idea to take breaks from looking down. Changing your position frequently and getting up and walking can help take the stress off of your neck.
3. Use a Chair with a Headrest
Sitting in a chair with a headrest will help you take the stress off your neck and shoulders. This chair will be great for working in front of your computer or playing your favorite games.
4. Stretch Your Neck. Performing neck stretches several times a day will help decrease the stress on your neck and shoulders. Some simple ones include:
• Turn your head side to side
• Put your chin on your chest, then look up to the ceiling
• Stretch your right ear toward your right shoulder, then stretch your left ear toward your left shoulder
• Hold each stretch for several seconds. Repeat each stretch five times.
5. Consult a Doc. The best advice I can give my patients, family and friends is not to ignore neck pain, numbness or tingling in your arms or headaches. What may start as strain from your electronic devices may become more serious. Pain is our body’s way of asking us to pay attention.
I hope these tips help you avoid the pain of tech neck. If you have tried these tips and are still experiencing pain, make an appointment with me or any of our qualified spine center physicians. We have a wide range of treatment options to help get you back to doing what you love.
E. Scott Middlebrooks, M.D., received his medical degree from University of South Alabama School of Medicine in Mobile, Alabama. He completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery at The Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina and a fellowship in spinal surgery at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Middlebrooks practices at Resurgens Orthopaedics’ Lawrenceville office.
Resurgens Spine Center • Non-surgical & Surgical Spine Care 24 Convenient Atlanta Locations • www.ResurgensSpine.com