Are your phone, tablet or computer giving you pain in the neck? It’s not because the device isn’t functioning correctly, but because you’re experiencing physical discomfort from looking at it. If this is the case, you’re probably suffering from a condition known by the name of “text neck syndrome” or “tech neck.” “Looking down at our smartphones computer, tablets, and other gadgets for extended durations can cause soreness and pain to our necks, shoulders as well as our back,” said Mac Weninger, MD, a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist at ThedaCare Orthopedic Care. “It’s an issue that anyone who is using mobile devices could suffer from.” “Tech neck” may cause discomfort, stiff necks and neck spasms, as well as discomfort of neck, back or shoulders as well as headaches. If it isn’t treated – or when one’s behaviour isn’t altered it could wear down discs in the cervical spine that can cause discs bursting or bulging that result in pain, numbness and weakening. “Tech neck could appear to be something that isn’t a problem but it could lead to severe long-term implications, particularly for the young people of today, who comprise the earliest generation to grow to use mobile technology,” Dr. Weninger said. It is the reason that National Institutes of Health (NHI) describes tech neck as “an emerging disorder of the 21st century which can cause cervical degeneration. NHI also reported that 75 percent of the people are hunched over their devices for a few hours each day with their head flexed to the side. The estimates suggest that Americans generally spend between five and seven hours a day using phones, with that the will likely to rise. Professor. Weninger said the human head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds when placed over the neck. “Tilting our heads down for example, when looking at our mobile to text or browse social media websites, can cause anywhere between 27 and 60 pounds of strain upon our necks based on the angle at which our head is placed,” he explained. “That’s creating a lot of physical strain to the spine and shoulders, neck and all the muscles that make up our upper body.” Most frequent symptoms of neck pain are headaches *tenseness to the neck, and the upper back muscles Joint (TMJ) issues Tingling or weakness in the hands *Rotator Cuff Tendinitis The doctor. Weninger favors finding the reason for any pain or discomfort that is new and changing the contributing behavior rather than merely dealing with the symptoms. The following are his guidelines to minimize the chance of developing neck pain Keep your tablet or phone close to your eyes as much as is possible. Make sure to take regular breaks from prolonged time spent on devices like tablets, phones or gaming devices, as well as computers. Then, you can arch your back and shoulders, then roll them and perform stretches to loosen muscles that are tight in the neck. Limit screen time outside of school or work hours. Use a standing desk whenever you can. Be conscious of your posture and change bad habits. You should sit with your feet on the floor, and your back leaning slightly backwards. Get up from your seat during studying or work at least once every hour. Do yoga routinely for a few minutes a day. e.g. downward cat, cobra, dog, child’s pose, and the seated twist pose can relieve muscle tension on the top of your body. Get the recommended 150 minutes moderately aerobic activity per week. Do resistance training and build the strength of your rotator-cuff in order to help stabilize your shoulder joint. “Most of the tasks we perform using our arms are done in front of our bodies, including moving, lifting and and reaching,” he said. “It is essential to build up muscles in the back, especially in the upper back. This will help to restore equilibrium between forces that pull shoulders forward as well as reverse.” If shoulder or neck pain persists even after trying ergonomic adjustments as well as stretching and strengthening exercises Doctor. Weninger recommends seeing a specialist at ThedaCare Medical Center for Orthopedics, Spine and Pain. “We begin with conservative treatments like physical therapy as well as medications to treat the pain,” he said. “Then we consider other options, like injections. In extreme cases surgery might be required. Your healthcare team will go over options with you to address your health concerns.” This Orthopedic Walk-in Clinic is open Monday through Friday from 7:15 a.m. until 7 p.m. in addition to on Sundays and Saturdays between 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. located at 2400 East Capital Drive, Appleton. Although appointments are not required patients are able to click the “I’m headed there” button to notify the health professionals know they’re arriving. Find more information at “Our mobile devices increase our capacity to stay informed as well as entertained and educated, which enhances our lives,” said Weninger. “As with any device there is a right method to use it. Making good habits about how we handle our devices as well as the amount of time we are spending on them can go a long to ensure that we’re embracing the benefits of these devices.”