So called Tech Neck posture when using our Smartphones causes damage to our bodies health. Therefore, how can we avoid it?
Researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, United States, have noted an increase in cases of pain in the neck and upper back that could be related to bad postures when using telephones mobile phones and looking down at our Smartphones for long periods.
“On an x-ray, the neck usually curves backward but what we’re seeing is that the curve is reversing because people look at their phones for hours every day,” Said Todd Lanman, one of the neurosurgeons who has directed the investigation.
Experts recognize that when patients arrive at chiropractor clinic with Tech Neck indications, they usually there is pain and problems on the discs. Startlingly, some children who use their phones for long periods are also suffering.
Smartphone users often look down while reading the received messages, browse the content or watch videos. It is estimated that the inclination of the neck is about 45 degrees. However, it can be even more depending on whether they are sitting or standing.
What is Tech Neck?
Tech Neck is a syndrome caused by tilting the head forward when watching videos, writing messages or playing on portable electronic devices. Keeping this bad position for long periods of time can cause severe damage to our musculoskeletal health. Tech Neck affects three segments of the spine: cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (back) and lumbar (lower back).
The forward and downward position of these parts of our body causes strong pressure on the spine. Moreover, it also creates pain and inflammation of the joints, muscle contractions, dizziness, and headaches.
The Head Gain More Weights When It Tilts Forward
The users of mobile devices spend an average of two to four hours per day inclined, and among their main activities include reading e-mails, sending text messages or checking social networks.
There are millions of people who spend excessive time with their eyes on a smartphone. The scene is so common that we barely notice the fact that the world has its head down, almost constantly.
The more neck tilts forward; the more impact is caused to the spine. The head usually weighs between 10 and 12 pounds (between 4.5 and 5.4 kilos) when the neck remains upright. However, when it tilts forward by about 15 degrees, it is increased and can be the equivalent to about 27 pounds (about 12 kilos).
It is difficult to recommend a suitable position for Smartphone users, but if we raise the phone to the level of the eyes to avoid looking down, we could find ourselves with an additional problem in the arms, which would also suffer with bad posture.
Therefore, it is suggested to perform breaks regularly and perform certain stretches or basic exercises to strengthen the muscles of the neck and shoulders.
Tech Neck Consequences
Muscle pain is the first symptom. Over time, this poor posture we call Tech Neck can cause other problems, such as spinal fatigue, and reduced lung capacity. Further, it causes headaches, neurological problems, depression, and heart disease. Some experts also find other potential problems such as
- Respiratory dysfunction, due to chronic pain around the neck.
- Loss of vital capacity of the lungs up to 30%. Poor breathing could cause heart disease.
- The incorrect posture of the body affects the whole digestive system. The large intestine is one of the organs primary affected, suffering from constipation being one of the problems.
- Decreased muscle and respiratory strength.
- Tech Neck flattens the standard curve of the neck, which stimulates disc compression, causing early osteoarthritis.
- Severe pain due to prolonged muscle tension and the appearance of disc hernias or compression of the nerves of the spine.
How to Prevent Tech Neck Syndrome
Here are some of the recommendations offered by chiropractors:
- Keep your back straight with good lumbar support.
- When writing a message, held the phone at eye level, at a 30-degree angle, to protect the neck and wrists.
- Learn to use the cell phone with both thumbs.
- Do not tilt the neck while you write a message or look down at the screen. Try to move your eyes, keeping your neck in a neutral position.
- If you are writing a message in bed, make sure that the neck and back are well supported with pillows.
- You can avoid damaging your eyesight by increasing the size of the letter.
- Avoid staying in the same position for long periods when you are sitting. This will benefit not only your neck but also your legs and your spine.
- Get out of your chair and take 5-minute breaks every hour and a half. This allows you to focus your eyes on more distant objects and relax your shoulders.
- Put your tablet on a table with support, not on your lap.
- Being in a well-lit space prevents visual problems and poor posture.
Occasionally, ocular relaxation exercises must be performed to prevent vision problems. Also, you should avoid sleeping with pillows that further bend the neck forward.
While it is almost impossible to prevent using technologies that cause us specific problems, we can make an effort to look at the phone with a neutral position and avoid spending many hours a day hunched over.
If we locate the device at eye level, we will not need to bend the neck.
The problem is profound, and this excessive tension in the neck could begin to be noticed at an early age. That is why it is essential to take care of the spine, performing periodic check-ups even from a young age.
Chiropractic help is always recommended.
The chiropractor helps to ensure that the complex communication channels between the brain and the body (nerves) are free of interference. In turn, this checks and corrects the subluxations caused by this tension through periodic spinal adjustments avoiding future problems.
However, if you are already suffering from these ailments, the chiropractor will warn that there are specific treatments to relax the area. This can be done manually or by chiropractor’s help. The neck is stretched to generate more space and decompress the intervertebral discs. There are also exercises with movements of the head to one side and another. There will be a cracking sound produced – this is not the bone breaking, but just gas bubbles being released.
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