Do You Suffer From Tech Neck?

Have you stopped to consider that the more frequent headaches and tight shoulders you’ve been getting aren’t just because of the stress of your crazy schedule, but rather Tech Neck? Stress can certainly be a factor, but the positions we work in when using technology (not just the work itself) can manifest real, physical symptoms. Technology is an amazing thing. In so many ways, it has made our lives easier, more productive and more connected.  However, technology can also have a downside, particularly when you are talking about your spine and physical health. So much of our workday and personal time revolve around the use of technology: smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs. It makes sense that this saturation of use could have a physical effect as well. But how do you know if you suffer from Tech Neck?

Start by looking at the causes of Tech Neck

For most of us, a large portion of the day is spent looking at a screen, whether handheld or desktop.  And many of us don’t think twice about how we position our bodies during these extended periods of screen time.  If this sounds familiar, you are likely hunched over, shoulders rounded, head tilted forward. It’s just posture, right?  No big deal.  Wrong.  Improper posture can produce significant and lasting discomfort.

Poor posture can be a culprit

How often to do you check your posture while using your technology? The answer is most likely-not often enough! Poor posture is the primary reason for Tech Neck. Why?  There are a couple of key factors.

Rounded, hunched-over shoulders

Because we spend so much time staring at a small screen on handheld devices, it’s easy to get in the habit of bending down to get closer to the screen and round our shoulders doing so. This rounding or hunching of the shoulders creates strain on the neck and back.

Tipping your head forward at an unnatural angle

Again, along with the rounded shoulders, you are likely to be dropping your head forward as well, to get closer to the screen.  According to Southeast Orthopedic Specialists , “The average adult person’s head weighs somewhere between 10 and 12 pounds in a neutral position. However, the farther it tilts forward, the more weight it puts on the neck. When it’s at a 45-degree angle to the neck, it can weigh as much as 60 pounds. Even at a 15-degree angle, it can weigh more than 25 pounds.“ That kind of weight (especially for prolonged periods) causes muscle strain/pain, stresses your entire upper body, and promotes poor posture.  Poor posture may not seem like a big deal, but long-term, it can lead to chronic neck pain and other orthopedic problems.

Tech Neck is not just about smartphone use

The most obvious technology on which to hang the blame for this physical phenomenon is the smartphone, because we use them so much throughout the day.  However, whenever you spend any prolonged period of time in front of a screen and your body isn’t aligned in a healthy position, you can suffer symptoms of Tech Neck.  That means your time on a desktop computer, laptop or tablet can all lead to the symptoms of Tech Neck.

One way to help reduce time on electronic devices is to find apps and programs that are an efficient use of your time.  If you spend a lot of hours on your smartphone and suffer from “Teck Neck”, be sure to check out the iStratus app for iPhones.  The DayPlanner features - as well as the ability to streamline your calendar are sure to help you minimize screen time and effectively use your time. Thereby enabling you to spend less time on your device and lessening your chance of suffering from Tech Neck.

Ann Brennantech neck