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Tech Neck: The Modern-Day Epidemic & How Chiropractic Care Can Help

woman on computerFrom the second we roll over and shut the alarm off on our nightstands, tech devices have become a constant in our lives. Many of us begin our day in the wee hours scrolling through email from under the covers, and from there, we’re looking down at our phones nearly all day long for business and entertainment. Depending on your job, you’re probably logging hours in front of a computer screen.

This prolonged use of smartphones, laptops, and other tech devices is causing what our team at Shepherd Family Chiropractic call “tech neck.” It’s common for Dr. Shepherd to see patients with neck pain, headaches, and shoulder tension, due to the biomechanical changes that occur from their near-constant screen usage.

So, what exactly is tech neck, and how can we fix it?

Tech’s Affect on Your Body

Overuse of tech devices can change our head posture over time, bringing it farther ahead than it should be. This can be particularly detrimental to our bodies, because as that head creeps forward, it adds pounds of stress to our neck that it wasn’t designed to withstand.

Over time, this can lead to wear and tear in the spine, degenerative changes in the discs and vertebrae, and in the joints. As our forward head posture progresses, our shoulders start to roll forward and affect the upper back, and how our extremities work and function. An example of this is a condition called “frozen shoulder,” where patients can lose range of motion in their shoulder to the point where they can’t even raise their arms above their head.

The issues with forward head posture and forward shoulder roll also create greater stress on a group of nerves that come out of the neck and travel into the arms and hands, called the brachial plexus. These stressors can cause extreme pain, numbness, and tingling.

The lower back is also negatively affected, especially if people are sitting a lot while they’re working. Sitting puts additional stress on the lumbar discs than any other posture, and there’s more pressure sitting down than standing up with 50 pounds of weight in your hand.

Tips to Avoid Tech Neck

  • To avoid these widespread effects on our body from these tech-related posture problems, Dr. Shepherd has several suggestions.
  • Invest in a desk with a standing option, where you can easily move from a seated position to a standing desk position throughout the day, to minimize the effects of sitting while working.
  • Ensure you have a proper desk setup that’s ergonomically sound. Many places of employment provide ergonomic evaluations for their employees when they’re in the office.
  • Stand every 30 minutes and walk in place. Take a brief walk around your home or office, or walk up and down a flight of stairs a few times for a break to keep the muscles reactive.

Even if you follow these tips for a few minutes a day, they can do wonders to relieve the tension you hold in your body and prevent further damage.

You can also participate in a digital detox, which we’ll discuss in depth in our next blog post.

And of course, we’re here to help you through chiropractic care if you are currently experiencing pain or discomfort from tech use.

Contact Us

Contact us today if your tech neck has become too much–we can help you get back to feeling great!

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