Tech Neck…..yep, it’s a real thing!
Are you reading this on your phone or tablet right now? If so….pick your head up! 🙂
In this information age, we are killing our posture with all of the handheld devices and computers. They’ve even coined a new term for our bad posture, Tech Neck!
According to Kenneth K. Hansraj, MD, it’s a real thing.
“We did a study on the issue of poor posture and how it affects you, especially when you’re on a cell phone or smart device,” says Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitative Medicine. “It’s a lot of load, an amazing amount of weight to be carrying around your neck.”
Not convinced? Well get this. “When your spine is in neutral position, the head weighs about 10-12 pounds,” he says. “At 15 degrees [forward], the neck sees 27 pounds. At 45 degrees, it sees 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees, it’s 60 pounds.”
image courtesy of chiropractor-woodstock.com
That’s a whopping 60 pounds of weight on muscles and nerves that are meant to handle 10-12 pounds of stress, and that can do a lot of damage over time. I can’t tell you how sad I get seeing teenagers walking around looking at the ground, not even having the strength to walk while looking out in front of them.
Despite the importance of having good posture, most of us don’t do anything to improve it. We go about our lives with hunched backs and imbalanced hips, and deal with pain because we think it’s normal.
Living with bad posture can be a dangerous thing. The muscle and ligament imbalances that result from poor alignment can lead to all sorts of problems:
- Chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain
- Foot, knee, hip, and back injuries
- Muscle atrophy and weakness
- Difficulty breathing
- Digestion issues
- Impingement and nerve compression
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Dr. Kelly Herta-Himes, one of the top chiropractors in the
Santa Clarita Valley, says that many of the problems people complain about on a daily basis (sore/painful wrists, sore/painful shoulders, etc.) are caused by poor posture.
So what can we do about it?
Well, let’s face it, you’re not going to stop using your phone or tablet. But there are some ways you can relieve the stress on your neck while using them. Dr. Herta-Himes suggests getting a plate holder from the dollar store and using it to prop up your tablet on a table or your lap. You can also put a pillow on your lap when laying in bed or prop your feet up and rest our forearms on your knees when holding your device.
We can also strengthen the neck by doing some simple neck nods and rocking. Here is a great video demonstration on how to do neck nods (the video talks about relieving tension for headaches, but gives a great demonstration on neck nods).
As G.I. Joe said, knowing is half the battle. Don’t let Tech Neck cause problems for you down the road. Use the simple tips and exercise above to stay strong and healthy.