Patients visit our chiropractors for a wide variety of reasons, from car accident recovery to simply dealing with pain that has lingered in their bodies. As we continue to spend more time on our phones, we have also found ourselves spending an increased amount of time looking down. All of this looking down is causing many Americans serious neck pain (in fact you may be looking down right now!)
Though it goes by multiple slang names from turtle neck posture to text neck to tech neck, none of these phrases is a real term for a medical diagnosis. However, this poor posture is often a contributing factor in what can be more complicated neck pain issues that patients are suffering from.
While it is not realistic to think patients will seriously decrease their device usage, the way they posture themselves while using these devices is very much under their control. Consider this: the average adult head weighs 10 to 12 pounds and as the head extends forward from the shoulders the neck must work harder to support the head. The pressure on the neck can rise to as much as 60 pounds, which is five times more pressure than most adult heads exert in a resting position.
What’s the solution?
The best solutions do not require any fancy equipment. Many smartphone users seem to hold their devices parallel to the ground, but a more comfortable strategy is to raise your arm, keep your neck in a comfortable posture and raise the device higher so it is in line with your eyes.
Another great idea is to put your device away, take a break and look around. This is not just a good idea for your neck but also for your eyes which likely require a much-needed break.
If you are sitting in a chair with a headrest, this can often provide a great rule of thumb for tracking your necks movement. The farther you lean away from the headrest, the more stress you will be applying to your neck. However, the greatest rule to follow is your own sense of pain. If you are feeling pain in your neck then it is time to adjust your posture or take a break.
Is it just an issue with my phone or tablet?
The problems tech neck causes are not restricted to simply your mobile devices. Your desktop or laptop computer can also pose a threat as many users lean forward or sit up straight when viewing these screens. You may want to try reclining back in your chair when working on a computer as this can be a good way to relax your neck.
If you are ever dealing with neck pain that will not go away, see one of our friendly chiropractors and put yourself on a path towards returning to a pain-free life.