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We've all been there – engrossed in our favourite apps, scrolling through social media, or texting away, only to be rudely interrupted by a nagging pain in our necks. It's not a coincidence; your beloved phone might just be the culprit behind that persistent neckache
In this blog, we'll explore the concept of "Tech Neck," understand how it develops, and most importantly, discover some simple yet effective ways to prevent it. So, sit back, relax your shoulders, and let's get started! 

The cervical spine 

First things first, let's talk about the cervical spine. This is the fancy term for the collection of bones, muscles, and ligaments that make up your neck. 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, anyway? 

"Tech Neck" might sound like the name of a sci-fi villain, but it's a very real concern in today's digital age. Tech Neck is the term used to describe the pain and discomfort that arises from staring down at screens for extended periods. Whether you're texting, scrolling, or binge-watching, your neck tends to droop forward, placing extra strain on the cervical spine. Over time, this can lead to pain, stiffness, and even headaches. 

How do you develop tech neck? 

Tech Neck doesn't just happen overnight – it's more like a silent creeper that gradually tightens its grip. Here's how it usually unfolds: 
Downward staring: The natural resting position of the neck is when it's aligned with the spine. However, as you tilt your head downward to look at your phone, the weight your neck supports increases, causing strain on the muscles and joints. 
Muscle fatigue: Holding your head in a downward position for prolonged periods causes the muscles in your neck, shoulders, and upper back to work harder to keep your head up. Eventually, these muscles can become fatigued and start protesting in the form of pain. 
Poor posture: The more time you spend hunched over your phone, the more likely you are to develop poor posture not only while using your phone but also in other activities. This can lead to a range of musculoskeletal issues. 

How do I prevent tech neck? 

Don't worry, preventing tech neck doesn't mean bidding farewell to your phone altogether! It's all about finding a balance and making a few simple adjustments to your smartphone habits. Here are some friendly tips to help you keep tech neck at bay: 
Elevate your screen: Instead of holding your phone at chest level and bending your neck down, bring the phone to eye level. This reduces the angle at which your neck is bent and helps maintain a more natural posture. 
Take breaks: Make a habit of taking short breaks every 20-30 minutes. Use this time to stretch, roll your shoulders, and gently rotate your neck to relieve any tension that's building up. 
Stretching exercises: Incorporate stretching exercises into your routine. Gently tilt your head from side to side, bring your ear to your shoulder, and rotate your neck to help improve flexibility and reduce stiffness. 
Posture check: Be mindful of your posture not only when using your phone but also when sitting or standing. Imagine a string pulling your head towards the ceiling to help you maintain a straight posture. 
Workspace ergonomics: If you're working on a computer, ensure your screen is at eye level and your chair provides proper back support. This can prevent Tech Neck even when you're not using your phone. 
Use voice commands: Many smartphones have voice recognition features. Utilise them for tasks like sending texts or making calls to give your neck a break. 

“I think I have tech neck and 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. 
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