What is Tech Neck?
What is Tech Neck?
Do you own a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, computer or any electronic device?
The chances are that the answer is YES
Research from an annual study in 2020 stated that during lockdown adults in the UK spent more than 40 percent of their waking day glued to their devices!
The study by Ofcom found that we spent an average of six hours and 25 minutes on our phones, TV’s, laptops and other devices which resulted in a staggering 45 hours a week!
Would hate to think how many hours this equated to for children and teenagers.
Because of the amount of time spent on these devices we are liable to suffer with ‘Tech Neck’, which is over-stressing of the muscles in the back of the neck.
When you are constantly looking down at a screen your neck muscles are having to work hard to take the weight of your head. These muscles then become overworked and overstretched which makes them sore and achy and leads to wear and tear in the neck.
Our heads weigh around about 10-12lbs but when you change the angle this weight increases. At a 15 degree angle the weight increases around 27lbs, at 30 degrees it increases to 40lbs and at 60 degrees it’s 60lbs!! This is a lot of unnecessary pressure that we are putting on the neck!
The symptoms of ‘Tech Neck’ range from stiff necks and neck spasms to headaches and pain in the upper back and shoulders.
Severe cases can also lead to tingling and numbness in the arms due to nerve impingement. This happens because when the muscles tighten it puts more pressure on the discs in your neck. This leads to tear and tear and can make the discs bulge or even rupture!
What can we do to prevent 'tech neck'?
1. Change how you hold your phone
Bring the screen to eye level to prevent you tilting your head forward constantly
2. Correctly set up your computer screens and laptop monitors
Ensure computer screens and laptop monitors are set at the right height and avoid tilting the head forward to look down at your keyboard, use your eyes to glance down.
Also take regular breaks away from the screens – at least a few minutes every hour.
3. Perform Chin Tucks
This exercise is one of the most effective exercises for preventing or easing neck pain. It helps to strengthen the muscles that bring your head into alignment over your shoulders.
- Sit or stand in an upright position and place a finger or two on your chin. Push back gently and hold for a couple of seconds before relaxing and repeat 10-12 times.
- Try and keep your head upright, imagining the crown of your head being pulled up towards the ceiling. Don’t let the chin drop towards your chest.
- Try and perform this at least once a day, more if possible.
Over time you can perform without using the fingers on your chin as your neck muscles become stronger and your technique gets better.
4. Practice Pilates exercises
Practice a 10mins Pilates routine each day to relieve tension in your neck, back and shoulders. This will keep you mobile, ease tight muscles and also strengthen weak muscles.
Our heads set the tone for the rest of the body so if your head and neck posture are not in good alignment then it can affect the rest of the kinetic chain. This is the same for the rest of the body. Practicing Pilates helps to correct muscle imbalances and improves our posture which leads to much less stress on the body!