It’s nearly impossible to limit interactions with screens in our technology-driven world. Whether for work or for pleasure, most of us spend a significant amount of time gazing down at our smartphone, tablet, or laptop. However, this intensive use of technology is associated with an increasingly recognized ailment, aptly coined “tech neck.” The implementation of purposeful sedentary practices promotes the advantages that technology offers but also protects against the pain and stiffness from overusing it. Below is everything you need to know about the tech neck condition and how to prevent or treat your symptoms to ensure a healthier, pain-free life.
Causes and Symptoms of Tech Neck
Tech Neck originates from the natural inclination to keep devices near the lap which requires the neck to bend forward, decenter one’s sense of gravity, and increase the weight put on the spine. The average person spends 2-4 hours a day looking down at their phones, and this poor posture practice can increase the weight being pressed on the spine from 10-12 pounds to around 60 pounds. Symptoms include discomfort or weakness in the neck, arms, and legs and can worsen over time, with increased pain, fevers, or difficulty controlling the bowels or bladder.
Treatment and Prevention
This condition is avoidable if you are mindful of how your body feels, practice holding your device in certain positions, and monitor the frequency in which you move around throughout the day.
Being Mindful of Your Body
Often, we are so focused on why we are using our devices, that we forget to be mindful of how we are using them. Remain cognizant of how frequently you engage with your device and how this use is affecting your body. When you make an effort to be mindful of your body, it is easier to remember to purposefully position your body while sitting for extended periods and improve your posture. This includes resting your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed, your feet flat on the floor, and sitting in a chair with a headrest that can support the neck.
Using Your Device Purposefully
While using your device every day may be non-negotiable, keeping the screen at eye level and abstaining from continuously looking down for long periods can effectively reduce the strain on your neck, muscles, and ligaments. Engaging in this position will also promote better posture.
Engaging in an Active Lifestyle
It is important to implement frequent breaks in your work schedule to ensure you stand up and move around every 30 minutes. Daily routines that also include exercise or consistent activity promote higher resilience against the grind of technology-based work requirements.
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