The Pain of Tech Neck
Do you spend most of the day hunched over staring at the screen of your smartphone or tablet? This could be causing damage to your neck and shoulder joints.
Sarah Beer explains, “Tech Neck", as it is known, refers to the strain in your neck and shoulder muscles that develops as a result from excessively craning your neck down when you are looking at a phone or a portable tablet device.”
“Although many of us will use such devices when we are working throughout the day, there are ways to ensure that they don’t cause too much damage to your spine and neck joints. One key way is to make sure you limit the time you spend on such devices; it is advised that for every 15 - 20 minutes you spend on your device you should take a 3 minute break. This is due to the fact that it is easy for a posture to change when we hold a position for a long period of time, so really try to limit yourselves to periods of 15 - 20 minutes where possible.”
“Making sure you’ve got the right posture can also be crucial. Rather than hunching forward to look at your screen, sit up straight and bring your phone or tablet up to eye level. This will help keep your spine aligned rather than curved and should reduce overall strain on your neck and shoulder muscles. This may feel a little odd at first but it will soon become a natural fit. If you are in an office you may want to think about a tablet or phone holder as this will help to raise your electronic up to your eye line instead of you having to hunch over. This also applies to your computer screen. For most people, the computer screen is located below your natural eye line leaving your head and shoulders to naturally hunch downwards. By raising your computer screen to your eye level you will force yourself to keep your head in a more natural position”
Sarah also advises to do some small stretches to relieve the tension in your upper body. “Bend your neck to the right so that your ear moves closer to your shoulder. Relax and hold for 20 seconds. Return to centre, and then repeat the move to the left. Do a repetition of five. A further exercise is to do a simple chin tuck. Tilt your head down and tuck your chin into your neck. Hold for five seconds, and then look back up. Do a repetition of ten. These exercises will help release any tension that might be created due to excessive strain from hunching over”
Make sure to listen to your body. If you have any aches and pains in your neck, shoulders and upper back, it usually means something is not working properly.