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High Tech Can Be a Pain in the Neck: 3 Easy Ways to Avoid Tech-Neck

[As featured on WTOP.com]

We live in a digitally connected world, and while there are many benefits to this, for many it is becoming a pain in the neck – literally. Did you know the average American spends over 10 hours a day hunched over their phones and tablets? Pair that with the fact the human head weighs roughly 12 pounds and it’s no wonder your neck is hurting!

Experts call this ‘tech-neck’. What does this have to do with modern technology, though?

We are all guilty of it — neck, shoulders, and back all slumped forward looking at our phones, feverishly scrolling through email or text messages. These poor posture habits create significant strain on your spine and can lead to neck pain.

GET THE FACTS

Brian R. Subach, Spinal Specialist and Neurosurgeon at Virginia Spine Institute, treats patients daily that complain of neck issues. “There are many reasons people complain about the nuisance of a ‘pain in the neck’, “ he says, “but the most common causes of neck pain, and even headaches, can be attributed to poor posture brought on by ‘tech neck’.”

The reason for this is simple – tilting your neck, shoulders, and back forward place added stress on the musculature and joints of the spine from the neck, all the way down to the pelvis. For example, tilting your head forward by even 15 degrees is akin to adding a 27 pounds weight to your neck!

3 EASY WAYS TO AVOID TECH-NECK:

1. Set time limits –

Spinal Surgeon Dr. Thomas Schuler knows a thing or two about neck pain – he’s had surgery to correct his own! He recommends setting time limits for screen time before taking a quick break. “Set a time limit of 45 to 60 minutes on the device and then take a lap wherever you are to rest your neck AND your mind,” he says.

2. Bring all devices to eye level –

Rather than straining your neck forward to see the screen, adjust your posture to bring the device to you! Consciously think about pushing your shoulders back, and bend your elbows until the screen is eye level, that way you aren’t tilting your neck to view another cat video.

3. Pay attention to the aches and pains –

Often times neck pain can be managed and overcome in a matter of weeks, but it’s important to pay attention to your symptoms. If they don’t clear up with ice/heat, anti-inflammatory medication, or rest, it could be a more complicated case like arthritisa herniated disc, or even spinal stenosis. Never underestimate your neck pain!

If you are experiencing neck pain be sure to see a specialist to get to the root of that nagging discomfort. Don’t delay! Click here to schedule or call us today at 703.709.1114.

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