Tech neck, also known as text neck is a term that is commonly used in order to refer back neck pain which is a result from the excessive use of electronic devices. If you’re constantly looking at your phone or iPad for too long or at your computer for long periods of time – and you’re experiencing tension in your neck – it’s likely that you’re suffering from neck pain caused by tech.

What’s the significance? Do you think this is a genuine phenomenon?

Let me be honest. I was skeptical initially. I’ve worked as a physical therapist for more than 20 years, and when I first encountered this term, I was thinking it was a joke. However, over the past 12-15 years, I’ve seen increasing cases come up, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that tech neck is a serious issue for those. If left to remain untreated – could cause headaches and tension in your shoulders and upper back or even pain and burning sensations in your hands and arms.

The best part is that it’s not only possible to eradicate it, but you also have the ability to be taught how to avoid the entire thing from happening.

What do you do to reduce the risk of neck injury? Here are three tips to help you avoid neck issues.

Be aware of your posture

If you’re always looking down or bending forward – it can cause a lot of damage to your neck. Be aware of your posture isn’t the only way to get rid of neck problems caused by technology it’s also the best method to avoid it. The most significant issue of bad posture is you aren’t aware that you have a problem till it’s already too late. Postural issues take a long period of time to show up. The changes to your soft tissue as well as the wear and tear of your spinal joints due to having a poor posture repeatedly occur over time and you don’t detect them when they are first occurring. In reality, “bad posture” on occasion isn’t necessarily harmful for your health and shouldn’t cause any significant problems. Unhealthy posture every day is when you’re in trouble. So, being aware of your posture when you use your electronic gadgets can make a difference.

Use headphones

Our spines are awe-inspiring and want movement, however they also need alignment. However, we don’t want to achieve alignment to the detriment of other joints, namely the shoulders. It’s not always a good idea to keep your smartphone or iPad directly in front of your face. That’s the way to go for maintaining the best neck alignment while making use of your devices. While it’s great for neck alignment but it can also create tension and strain in your shoulders. This is why I strongly recommend wearing headphones. Particularly, wireless headphones. It allows you to leave your tablet or phone at your desk, while you are up straight and talking. They also allow you to make use of the talk to text feature very easily, so you don’t have to stress your shoulders or your thumbs while speaking to your kids, friends or grandkids.

Pause your standing and sitting

Any form of prolonged sitting isn’t good for your health. Our bodies – particularly our spines – are drawn to motion. We hear lots about the harmful effects of sitting all of the time, however, standing for a long time isn’t ideal too. In the case of sitting in a seated position, your lower back tends to slump over time , which pushes your neck into the “forward head” posture after for longer than 20 minutes or more. If you add electronic devices to the mix, the results are more severe. Due to this, sitting desks that are standing have been more popular in the last few years. But I’ve noticed that people are having issues from sitting for too long. If you’re not having great primary engagement, for instance it is essential when standing for long durations, you may feel tension in your neck or jaw to adjust. This can cause stress and stiffness of neck muscles. What can you do to combat this? Simply change your position. Do not sit or standing for more than 30 minutes at a time. Your body, and in particular your neck will be grateful to you.

Being able to identify a problem with your neck in the early stages is essential and if you spot the problem early enough, it’s a simple fix yourself. The issue is that it’s an issue that is likely to build up in time and never taken care of before it’s time to act. If you’re suffering from constant headaches or other symptoms that extend down your arms or in your hands, the advice I’ve shared here might just not suffice to tackle the issue.

You can still seek help for these conditions naturally, and without the use of drugs or procedures It is likely that you’ll need assistance from a professional. Find someone who is knowledgeable about the importance of posture and good movement in your spine They are the best person to assist you prevent and treat neck pain caused by technology.

Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates instructor, runs CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth and also writes in the Seacoast Media Group. To get in touch, or reserve a seat in her upcoming Neck & Shoulder pain Masterclass, email her at [email protected] or call 603-605-0402.