Are you experiencing severe neck pain, back pain or even breathlessness and do you spend lot of time looking at your cell phone, tablet or laptop. You might be suffering from Tech neck.
“Text neck” or Tech neck is the term used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at the cell phone, tablets or other wireless device too frequently and for too long. Children and teens are more prone to get Tech neck.
The term “Text neck” was coined by Dr. Dean L. Fishman, who is a US chiropractor. According to Dr. Fishman, forward head posture decreases lung capacity, it can lead to asthma, blood vessel problems and heart disease. The oxygen deficit affects the entire gastrointestinal system and can decrease endorphin production. This turns the perception of non-painful sensation into pain experiences.
Text neck directly affects the spine. The average human head weighs 4.5 Kg in straight position. For every inch head is tilted forward, the pressure on spine doubles. When the head is tilted forward at 15 degrees, the forces on the neck surge to 12.24 Kg, at 30 degrees 18.14 Kg, at 450 degrees 22.22 Kg and at 60 degrees 27.21 Kg.
If text neck is left untreated, then it can lead to some serious permanent damage, such as:
- Flattening of the spinal curve
- Onset of early arthritis
- Spinal misalignment can be an outcome of text neck
- Spinal degeneration
- Disc compression
- Disc herniation
- Nerve damage
Combat Tech neck with Good ergonomics and Regular posture checks
While using a laptop
- Choose a chair with good lumbar support
- Position monitor in such a way that, it’s just below eye level
- Sit up straight and do not bent forward
- Keep shoulders relaxed and elbows close to body
- Keep hands, wrists, forearms, and thighs parallel to the floor
While using a handheld phone:
- Never keep the phone between head and shoulder
- If you need to use phone excessively, its advisable to invest in a comfortable, hands-free headset
- Use apps to track and calculate the time spent in static position or bent posture
While using an e-reader or tablet:
- Buy a case that can support comfortable viewing angle
- Take regular breaks and do not just stay glued to it for hours
Also practice neck and shoulder exercises to improve muscle stamina, correct posture and strengthen the neck muscles. Experts suggest it’s better to stand up, roll shoulders and neck or opt for a short walk every 20 minutes, to improve blood flow.