The Dangers of Tech Neck

Cell phones (let’s be honest - they’re really just small computers) have radically changed our lives. We can’t make it very long without pulling our phones out of our pocket or purse to check the latest score, the latest weather update, or the latest Twitter war.

While phones on their own are not inherently bad, they bring a host of dangers with them. One of those dangers we don’t realize is the damage we’re doing to our necks by bending our heads down so much. This condition even has an informal nickname: “tech neck.”

Here’s the deal: our heads normally weigh an average of about 12 pounds. If you bend your head forward to 15 degrees, it weighs about 27 pounds. Bend it even farther to 60 degrees, and all of a sudden it’s like you have a 60-pound weight pulling down on your neck. Multiply this by the hours we spend glued to our phones each day, and we have a problem.

Dr. Todd S. Koppel at Garden State Pain Management is an expert at treating this type of neck problem, along with a full range of conditions involving back, neck, and joint pain here in our Newark, Elizabeth, and Clifton, New Jersey offices. He wants you to know about the dangers of tech neck and the problems this kind of posture can exacerbate.

Problems associated with tech neck

Neck pain - The most common danger of tech neck is feeling neck pain and soreness in the area. 

Upper back and shoulder pain - This can range from a small, nagging pain that doesn’t let up to sharp, severe spasms that cause your upper back and/or shoulders to contract in pain.

Nerve issues - If one of your cervical nerves becomes pinched as a result of looking down too much, pain and other neurological symptoms could radiate down your arm and into your hand.

Early-onset arthritis - Some studies are beginning to suggest that tech neck could also lead to the early onset of arthritis in the neck.

How to treat tech neck

First, know that prevention is the best medicine. To keep tech neck at bay, practice keeping your cell phone and other digital screens at eye level throughout the day. Set up your computer at work, for instance, so you don’t have to move your neck down or bend your head forward to see the monitor.

If you work at a desk job, you should also take frequent breaks throughout your regular day. Make sure you stand up every half hour or so to walk around the office. Do some neck stretches at your desk to stay loose.

The main idea is to keep your head up as much as possible. Be mindful of your posture, and be aware of when your neck starts hurting.

You should also develop a fitness routine to build strong core muscles to support your upper body, including your neck. Building strong and flexible neck muscles will minimize the strain on your neck and help support your head as well.

If your neck is causing you pain and you’re ready to get checked out by an expert, contact Garden State Pain Management to set up an initial consultation by calling or requesting an appointment online at any of their three New Jersey locations. Dr. Koppell and our team will diagnose and treat you so that you can build a strong, healthy life for many years to come.

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