If you put your head and neck in a bad posture for too long, you can develop “tech neck.” “Tech neck,” also commonly dubbed “text neck,” is a new condition that is developing as a result of widespread use of smartphone and tablet use. Using these devices promotes a forward flexed position of your head and neck and over time can lead to many health problems. There has been recent research and discussion among health experts about this growing problem.
New York spine surgeon Dr. Kenneth Hansraj recently studied the incremental effects of a forward-tilted head posture on the cervical spine. He stated in his findings,
“The weight seen by the spine dramatically increases when flexing the head forward at varying degrees. Loss of the natural curve of the cervical spine leads to incrementally increased stresses about the cervical spine. These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration, and possibly surgeries.
While it is nearly impossible to avoid the technologies that cause these issues, individuals should make an effort to look at their phones with a neutral spine and avoid spending hours each day hunched over.”
An adult head weighs 10-12 pounds in the neutral position. As the head tilts forward the pressure on the neck surges to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees.
Another study found children as young as seven are suffering from spine problems due to poor posture. Among a group of 10 year-olds, researchers found up to 10 percent may already have poor posture leading to back pain, and nine percent of the kids already showed degenerative disc problems with at least one disc. The researcher attributed this to lugging heavy school books, watching TV, playing video games, and texting may play a significant role as well.
As a result of technology, we are seeing more neck pain and headache patients in our clinic, especially younger people. Many of them have a significant loss of the natural curvature of the neck. As a result, their treatment often requires spinal adjustments and a specialized method of cervical traction to counteract the damaging effects of “tech neck.”
While these devices are nearly impossible to avoid, here are some common sense tips to help you avoid “tech neck.”
Hold your smartphone up with BOTH hands so BOTH of your elbows are resting on your body just above your hip bones. This will bring your device closer to eye level which will reduce neck and shoulder stress. When your neck or shoulders get tired, put your device away to allow your body to rest and recover.
These devices are more difficult to hold up to eye level because of their weight and the need to hold the device with one hand while tapping and scrolling with the other hand. For these devices, we recommend a stand, such as the ones made by Levo or LapDawg.
We help people with neck and shoulder pain, headaches and other “tech” related conditions every day. If you or someone you know is suffering from “tech” pains, contact us to see if we can help.
A home device to help counteract the loss of the natural curvature of the neck due to improper smartphone and tablet use.
Available for purchase at our clinic