The Dangers of Tech Neck

Americans are spending more and more time using mobile phones, laptops, and other devices. And all of that time with technology can take a toll on your posture. Looking down at mobile devices throws off the natural alignment of your spine, resulting in neck and shoulder pain and stiffness. In 2019, Americans spent an average of 6 hours consuming digital media and close to 3 hours on their smartphones. Chances are you’re reading this article on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Are you looking down at your screen? Spending so much time in an unnatural position with your head down and neck forward has serious consequences on your posture and overall health. Pain specialist Dr. Ajith Nair and the team at Kentuckiana Pain Specialists want you to know the dangers of tech neck and what you can do to improve your posture and protect your spine.
Tech neck 101
In a tech world, there’s no getting around it, but the truth is that your spine isn’t designed to stay in the position typical of using digital devices. The term “tech neck” was coined to describe the painful result of the altered alignment of your spine when constantly using mobile devices throughout the day. People suffering from tech neck spend hours a day in a hunched position with their head forward, neck extended, and chin tucked. This places excess pressure on your neck and shoulders, leading to neck pain. The cervical spine, your neck, consists of seven vertebrae that allow you to move, turn, and flex your neck up and down and side to side. Because the cervical spine is very flexible, it’s vulnerable to strain and damage. Left untreated, tech neck can cause chronic neck pain and back pain and lead to further complications.
Cervical kyphosis

Tech neck can advance to cervical kyphosis, a painful condition that occurs when people hunch or slouch for long periods. When you bend your neck forward to look down at your laptop or smartphone, you place strain on your spine and cause tension to build up in your neck and shoulders. This can cause the top of your spine to develop an abnormal curve. 

I have tech neck, what now?

If you notice pain in your neck and shoulders and suspect that your posture when using mobile devices is the culprit, seeing a pain specialist is the best first step you can take toward getting relief.

Treatment to relieve tech neck may involve steroid injections, nerve blocks, physical therapy exercises, and training for improving your posture. 

Preventing tech neck
Adjusting the height of your computer so the screen is at eye level and raising the position of your cellphone are easy steps to implement that can have positive results. Practicing good posture is your best defense against tech neck. This means positioning your shoulders back and down instead of in a rolled forward position and holding your head up and straight instead of hanging your head with your chin tucked. If you think you might have tech neck, or if you have any neck, back, or shoulder pain, reach out to Kentuckiana Pain Specialists to schedule a consultation with Dr. Nair. We have offices in Louisville and Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and you can call the office closest to you or book an appointment online.