From banking to catching up with friends, technology has transformed every aspect of how we live. While the benefits of living in a digital society are obvious, as our screen time increases and our overall physical movement decreases, what effect is this having on your body?
Even though technology might not be the direct cause of injuries or strains, movement and exercise are integral to keeping our bodies healthy. Because technology is now capable of helping us complete everyday tasks, our bodies are struggling to adjust to being stationary and positioned at awkward angles for long periods.
An increasingly common condition among those who use technology daily is ‘tech neck’ or ‘text neck’. Even though tech neck might not be an immediate cause for concern, it can affect your quality of life over a longer period.
So, to get ahead of the symptoms, we’re here with all the information you need about tech neck and how to prevent it.
Firstly, what is tech neck?
Tech neck, text neck, or ‘cervical kyphosis’ (as it’s known medically), is a type of repetitive strain injury. While repetitive strain injuries can occur at any age, they can also be a complication of pre-existing conditions such as trauma to the spine or degenerative disc disease.
To understand tech neck, it’s important to know that the muscles in your neck and upper back are built to support a certain level of weight. When this weight is shifted, your muscles and ligaments have to work harder to support this movement.
With the average adult head weighing around 11 lbs, the more you look down at electronic devices you’re holding, the more pressure you’re placing on your neck and entire upper back area.
Even though our spines are flexible, this flexibility is what also makes our spines susceptible to damage. Especially since the top part of our spines were never meant to be positioned at certain angles for prolonged periods, tech neck can be the result of our spines curving in a way that goes against its natural shape.
What type of technology causes tech neck? A pain management specialist’s insight:
It’s been known for many years that repetitive movement (or a lack of movement entirely!) can lead to health complications. Our Annapolis pain management team is seeing a strong correlation between lifestyle and cause when it comes to tech neck.
While many people will be familiar with the debate surrounding whether or not excessive typing or texting contributes to hand pain and conditions such as carpal tunnel, recent studies are more conclusive in their reports of what causes tech neck.
Most commonly, tech neck is associated with:
- Looking down at your phone too regularly
- Viewing screens (of any kind) at certain angles for prolonged periods
- A lack of diversity in your range of neck/upper body movements
While technology is not the only cause of cervical kyphosis, its prevalence in our tech-heavy society has given rise to the term tech neck. With the use of handheld devices and computers now present in both working and recreational environments, neck strain is something we’re likely to see more of in the future.
What are the most common symptoms of tech neck reported in our Maryland clinic?
In most cases, tech neck will develop over a long period, with pain starting out faint and building in intensity. Many of our Maryland patients report brushing off the pain initially, stating that the pain often comes and goes.
As tech neck worsens, the pain becomes more difficult to ignore. While treatment plans for tech neck can be offered at any stage, early detection will ensure the widest range of treatment options are available to you at our Annapolis clinic.
To identify tech neck as early as possible, the most common symptoms our patients report are as follows.
- Stiffness in the neck and/or upper back area
- Neck spasms
- Pain between shoulder blades
- Reduced movement in neck
With any pain, early treatment can give you the best chance of maintaining your quality of life and avoiding further complications. This is why it’s always best to seek professional advice as soon as you experience pain.
Tips on how to prevent tech neck
When it comes to any form of repetitive strain injury, regular movement is essential. However, with technology more popular than ever, it’s natural to be consistent in how you hold your phone or watch Netflix.
To prevent tech neck, consider:
- Whole body stretches throughout the day (including work and at home)
- Keeping your computer monitor at eye level
- Investing in a chair with a headrest
- Maintaining good posture (and avoiding slouching)
- Reducing screen time
- Visiting a trained professional as soon as pain is noticed
Tip: Many of our patients report reducing their screen time by introducing more music, podcasts, and audio books into their free time.
How can Annapolis Pain Management clinic in Maryland help?
As digital society moves towards a ‘work from home’ or hybrid-working model, it’s important to know how this lifestyle can impact your body.
At our pain management clinic in Annapolis, Maryland, we don’t just treat pain caused by lifestyle choices. We can also help you understand your pain and prevent it from worsening.
With tech neck, our team of professionals are well-versed in identifying the condition across all age groups. Based on the severity of your case, we’ll create a treatment plan that works best for you and your body!
At Annapolis Pain Management, pain associated with conditions such as tech neck isn’t all we can treat. We help patients from all over Maryland combat pain associated with migraines, arthritis, sciatica, sports injuries, and much more.
With non-surgical treatment options such as hyaluronic acid injections and non-opioid treatments available in our pain management clinic, we assess your pain and match you to a treatment we know will work best for you.
With a fully trained team of medical providers,chiropractors, and physical therapists, let our pain management experts help prevent pain from holding you back any further.
If you’d like to investigate treatment for pain you’re currently experiencing, either chronically or intermittently, our pain management team in Annapolis, Maryland, is currently taking on new patients.
You can request an appointment today via our website or call 410-224-4348 during business hours.