"Tech Neck" Affects Kids and Adults Alike
As our digital world expands, we are placing strain on the neck more and more. The gazing downward at phones, tablets and other hand-held devices is straining muscles as it changes the posture. According to the Cleveland Clinic, for every inch that the head is placed downward (away from the neutral upright position), there is double the load on the muscles that are trying to hold this position. The shoulders are also hunched forward due to the hands holding the device. Together, this misalignment leads to poor posture and could set you up for neck pain, including painful spasms.
Awareness of posture, limiting the "screen time" on devices, and exercises are helpful. Some also feel that yoga and stretches are helpful. For posture, lifting the head upward so that the ears are over the shoulders is helpful. If using a device is necessary for work, take hourly breaks to take a few moments to stretch the neck and shoulders. Place the device at eye level, and assure that you have an ergonomic work station to prevent pain or chronic problems.
If stretches, posture and ergonomics are not relieving your pain then you should see your healthcare provider for an evaluation. If there is pain, weakness or tingling down your arms, then do not delay is seeking care.