Tech Neck: Are Devices Causing Your Neck Pain
Many of our children are far more tech savvy than we adults are, and it’s very satisfying to see how adept they can be in handling modern technology. However, there are some drawbacks associated with being so knowledgeable about technology. These days, tablets, smartphones, and handheld devices are always within reach, and it’s very common for youngsters to spend hours on these devices every single day. All that commitment to screen time comes at a cost, and some people refer to it as tech neck. There are some things you can do to prevent tech neck from impacting your kids, so all that time they spend on electronic devices doesn’t adversely impact their health.
What exactly is tech neck?
It’s very common for people who spend hours at a computer or sitting at their desk to experience some level of discomfort in the muscles of their upper back, neck, and shoulders. Your kids may not have the same kind of work to accomplish that you do, but that doesn’t mean that they’re immune from the stress which can result from using those devices so much.
Tech neck is actually the most common result of spending long periods of time with the head and neck extended too far forward. This disrupts the natural neck curvature and all the muscles which are necessary to support the head. It puts a huge strain on all those muscles, and can actually cause these symptoms:
- blurry vision
- tingling fingers
- pain between the shoulder blades
- neck spasms
- neck pains
- stiffness in the neck, back, or shoulders.
Considering the fact that a typical teenager will spend something like nine hours every day looking at a computer screen, you can see how quickly they might develop some of the symptoms associated with tech neck.
How you can combat tech neck
If you do nothing at all about tech neck, it will very likely develop into something more serious like a slipped disc, or significantly more wear on vertebral discs, which will cause additional pain and discomfort. Tech neck can be reduced by sitting correctly, and by setting up workstations in an ergonomic fashion. You should also try and encourage your child to hold their smartphone at eye level when they’re looking at a screen.
Rather than having your youngster tilt their head, encourage them to simply scan their eyes downward. Most important of all, you should strongly encourage your children to take regular breaks when they’re using some kind of electronic device, or otherwise engaged with technology. There are also a few very useful stretches which can be performed to mitigate the effects of tech neck.
One of these is called the cat stretch, and this is a yoga pose which helps to stretch out all the muscles associated with neck support. Another easy stretch you can have your children do is known as the neck roll, which simply has the head rotating from side to side to relieve muscle strain in the neck. There is another common stretch known as the neck flexion stretch which can be done in any setting.
By sitting with your shoulders thrust backward while bringing your chin down toward your chest, you’ll feel a stretch in the back of your neck, which relieves tension and strain in that area. All these stretches can be very helpful in reducing the effects and the harm which could be done by tech neck.