Tech neck isn’t new, but more and more people are becoming familiar with it as a result of spending more time at home with their devices during the pandemic.
So, what is tech neck, how can you know if you have it, and how can you prevent it from showing up or getting worse?
In this article, we’ll address what causes it, the telltale signs that you have it, and how to avoid it or at least keep it at bay.
What Is Tech Neck?
Tech neck describes the condition of discomfort in the neck that occurs as a result of keeping the neck locked in the wrong position for too long. The condition got its name from the devices that people are usually looking at when tilting their necks in these positions.
Essentially, you’re holding the neck in a misaligned position, increasing the weight of your head that your neck must bear over time.
Many people starting working from home after the onset of COVID-19 and started using different computers, sitting at different desks (or kitchen tables, or couches), and relying on non-ergonomic chairs during the workweek. These changes haven’t lent themselves well to efficient or comfortable WFH environments, especially for our posture.
Additionally, day-to-day life has shifted from in-person events to at-home and virtual, causing us to spend much more time than normal looking at our phones, laptops, or TVs. This extra time adds up and can impact our necks pretty severely.
Tech Neck Symptoms
Think you might have tech neck? Here’s how to know:
- Pain in the neck, upper back, or shoulder. This may feel achy and sore or like an intense stabbing pain.
- Rounded shoulders and forward-leaning neck posture. This happens as a result of deconditioning and imbalance between the head and neck.
- Headache. Do you have pain that begins at the base of your beck, leading up to the head?
- Pain when using tech devices. Returning to the position that originally caused the problem can intensify the pain.
Could you check off two or more of these symptoms? You may have tech neck. Here’s how to keep the pain at bay. If you think you might be at risk of developing tech neck, these tips will help prevent it.
Tips to Prevent Tech Neck
Here are seven things you can do at home to keep tech neck at bay or avoid it altogether:
- Hold good posture. If your posture hasn’t been of importance to you, it should be now. A great way to trigger better posture is by keeping a pillow or rolled-up towel between your chair and your back when working for lumbar support.
- Keep track of your activity. One way to limit your time spent with devices is to track your time not spent with devices. Set a daily activity goal using a tracker on your phone or smartwatch and try to hit a certain number of steps or active minutes device-free.
- Stretch regularly. Build stretch breaks into your workday to relieve tension on your neck, shoulders, upper and lower back.
- Move your monitor higher. If you find yourself tilting your head down when using the computer, it’s a sign you need a monitor that is higher up. Use a laptop stand or invest in a larger screen that can support your natural posture.
- Rely on a headrest. One great way to reduce forward neck posture and support your cervical spine is to rely on a headrest built into your chair. Try to keep a level of contact with the headrest to correct your posture.
- Decongest your screen time. Rather than completing all your digital tasks at once, try to spread them out throughout the day so you aren’t spending hours on end in front of a screen.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking water can create micro-breaks in your day while keeping the discs in your neck healthy and pliable.
When to Seek Professional Help
If you’ve tried the tips above and are still experiencing neck pain due to tech neck, you should see your chiropractor as soon as possible. You should also make an appointment if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Worsening headaches
- Weakness, tingling, numbness, or loss of feeling
- Disruptive sleep
Want to jumpstart your neck pain relief? Contact Sea Change Wellness Chiropractic to schedule an appointment and treat your bothersome tech neck.