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If you often suffer from neck pain and discomfort in the upper shoulders after using your phone for long periods of time, then you could be experiencing something we call ‘Tech Neck’. 

The Cervical Spine 

The cervical spine is made up of the first 7 vertebrae and is the most flexible part of the spine. The 7 vertebrae allow for the head to move up and down and side to side freely. Usually, the cervical spine has a natural lordotic curvature, meaning it curves inwards in order to support the weight of our heads on a day-to-day basis. Our heads weigh an average of 5kg to 6.3kg, so as you can image there’s a lot of pressure already in this area without any additional strain. 

What is Tech Neck? 

The official term for Tech Neck is Cervical Kyphosis. 
Cervical Kyphosis is the result of the lordotic curvature turning outwards rather than inwards. This tends to occur in response to us slouching whilst looking at our phones or spending excessive amounts of time working on the computer. Tech Neck is usually easily identifiable and can give a slight ‘hunchback’ appearance. Tech Neck causes stress on the upper spine and can cause unpleasant discomfort and tension in the neck and shoulders in the early stages. 
Many people with Cervical Kyphosis report the pain as having a gradual onset that appears and disappears gradually over time. The stiffness can be very unpleasant and is known to spread to the mid back, shoulder blades and arms and can cause painful headaches in the base of the head. 

How Do You Develop Tech Neck? 

The average adult head weighs between 5kg and 6.3kg in the usual upright position. When we lean forward just 15 degrees this weight doubles. Generally, we tend to tilt our heads much further forward when we look at our phones and computer screens, resulting in an unimaginable amount of weight and pressure on our necks, shoulders, and upper backs in order to support ourselves. 

How Does Tech Neck Affect the Body? 

Tech Neck can cause all sorts of issues within the body. Some of which can affect us long term and require treatment. 
• Structural back and neck problems 
• Strain in the neck 
• Shoulder pains and stiffness 
• Headaches 
• Spinal wear and tear 
• Abnormal curvature 

How Do I Prevent Tech Neck? 

In order to prevent tech neck, we’ve put together a list of tips that may help you to avoid the uncomfortable condition. 
• If you work on the computer, raise the height of your chair and desk to ensure you’re not tilting your head forwards. 
• If your office chair is unsupportive, switch to a chair that has a headrest and supports your posture. 
• Get up and move every so often to give yourself a break and to stretch. 
• Aim to drastically reduce your phone’s screen time. 
• Avoid watching videos on your phone. It’s easy to lose track of time when we are transfixed in a video, resulting in strain on the neck for long periods of time. 
• Get into the habit of correcting your posture. 
• Exercise. 

“I think I Have Tech Neck & Need to Get Help!” 

If you’re experiencing Teck Neck and the pain doesn’t seem to be subsiding, it may be time you seek help from one of our therapists at Fire & Earth. Our therapists can reduce the pain and offer support on how to overcome and prevent the condition from reoccurring. 
Tagged as: back pain
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