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  • Writer's pictureDr Claire Chittleborough

What Is “Tech Neck” Anyway?

You’ve probably heard this phrase bandied about a bit lately. But what does it mean? It’s a new name for an old phenomenon. But, as chiropractors, we can confirm that it’s more prevalent now than ever. When the head is pushed forward, straining beyond the shoulders and past the balance point where it should naturally rest, it creates tension through the neck, shoulders and back. Headaches, muscle pain, tenderness and stiffness can result. In more extreme cases, the impact can be felt through the limbs with tingling and numbness in the arms. It’s the posture of anger, of over-eagerness, and of aggression.

But, what’s with the name?

In our technological age – glued to computers, tablets, and phones – it's a posture our bodies are forced into for hours every day. We didn’t evolve to spend our days bent over and looking down. In fact, it’s said that for every inch (around 2.5cm in the metric system) the head juts forward, an extra ten pounds (or four and a half kilos) of pressure is added to the spine. Thanks to new technologies and our always-on culture, the problems arising from this posture have become so common that they’ve earned a new name – “tech neck” or “text neck”. That young people with developing spines and musculatures were the early adopters of these new technologies and therefore the most likely to suffer the pain of this condition is particularly upsetting to us as chiropractors.

What can be done?

Your chiropractor has made a life-time study of the spine and its proper alignment. Through gentle adjustments, we can relieve any neck pain you might be feeling because of tech neck, allowing your muscles to relax and compressed nerves to release. As blood flow and oxygen return in full to your overly tense muscles, things start to settle. So, a short appointment with your chiropractor can relieve pain – allowing you to get on with life, work, caring for others, and all the activities you enjoy.

Once you’ve experienced that relief you’ll probably want to ensure you never experience the pain of tech neck again. It’s probably not feasible for you to do away with all the devices that caused you to develop the condition in the first place and you probably wouldn’t want to. It is amazing that we can check the UV index on our smart watches while texting our colleagues and catching up on the news on our phones all at the same time. But maybe we can put some psychological boundaries around our technology use. This will benefit our family lives and our mental health as well as helping us avoid the pain of a misaligned spine! If you plan to check your phone or tablet at specific times rather than always bending down to them whenever they ping, you will find it easier to raise the phone and read it in a position that suits you. Since much of our use of screens happens at work, it’s worth making your desk set-up as ergonomic as possible. Your chiropractor is happy to advise on this or anything else that you think might help you avoid the pain of tech neck in the future. And as always, any work on alignment and posture will pay off.

If you have any concerns, please call on 0413 774 399 to make an appointment. I am here to help relieve any pain you’re feeling and prevent it from occurring or returning.

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