The average person spends over three hours a day bent over a phone screen, not to mention the additional hours many of us spend hunched over a laptop for work. One of the side effects of our tech-friendly lifestyle is a phenomenon known as Tech Neck (or Text Neck). This 21st Century's problem is affecting device users of all ages.
To mitigate and prevent symptoms of Tech Neck, let’s look into why it occurs, and which small but impactful changes we can make in our daily behaviors to avoid it.
What is Tech Neck?
Tech Neck isn’t an official medical diagnosis, but it refers to neck problems and pain caused by technology use. In today’s digital era, we often spend hours hunched over the phone and computer screens. The head is like a 12-lb ball that the neck has to hold up. Bending over a screen can put up to 60 pounds of force on our necks. Yikes.
Tech Neck symptoms include mild aches and pain in the neck, stiffness or sharp shooting pain, reduced shoulder or neck mobility, upper back pain, and even a hunchback. Unfortunately, many folks experiencing symptoms of Tech Neck often brush it off, but untreated symptoms can compound into chronic pain or flare up pre-existing conditions.
How to Prevent Tech Neck?
Technology is part of our world for the foreseeable, so expecting to eliminate phone and computer usage from our daily lives is unrealistic. But there are certain practices we can incorporate into our routine that can help minimize the impacts of phones and computers on our physical wellness.
Use a chair with a headrest to take pressure off your neck and promote better posture.
Use devices at eye level to prevent bad posture habits.
Set a timer to take breaks for your devices every 20 minutes to release pressure on your neck.
Do neck and shoulder stretches regularly.
Do workouts that promote back and shoulder flexibility (like yoga or boxing!)
How to Fix Tech Neck?
What if you already have Tech Neck? Don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. Tech Neck is actually highly manageable, and, in most cases, reversible. If you’re feeling enough pain that it’s distracting you during regular activities, you should seek advice from your physician.
Which Exercises Can Relieve Neck Tension?
There are numerous Tech Neck exercises you can do to help reverse symptoms and strengthen your neck and shoulder muscles:
Neck Rolls (both directions)
Ear-to-Ear Shoulder Stretches (both sides)
How Long Does it Take to Correct Tech Neck?
With movements and stretches to promote proper posture, Tech Neck can be corrected in as little as four to eight weeks. Maintenance and prevention will require consistent self-awareness, however. Being vigilant about posture, device time, and restorative movements will help reduce the risk of a Tech Neck resurgence.
How Can Boxing Help Alleviate Tech Neck?
Fun fact: Boxing is a phenomenal workout for alleviating and preventing Tech Neck. Boxers do immense amounts of repetitive punching and reaching that extend the thoracic spine (upper back) and keep it flexible. The majority of folks experiencing neck pain suffer from a tight upper back caused by bad posture. Shadowboxing, heavy bag boxing, and even light sparring can help relieve muscle tension in the back and shoulders, fostering flexibility and leading to pain relief.
Train Like a Fighter
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