We’ve all been there before. After a long day of work, we find ourselves rubbing the back of our necks in agony. That tightness, soreness and dull ache in the back of the neck can aggravating after a long day and can permeate down into the shoulders and upper back without relent.
It is the type of neck pain that can truly prevent you from feeling like yourself and one that can make even the smallest of activities difficult and uncomfortable. But where does this neck pain come from? And why do we tend to feel this type of aching pain only after a long day?
For many of us, this neck pain doesn’t come from an acute injury or issue, it actually comes from the position we are holding our neck in all day long. The term we often use for this condition is called “tech neck,” or cervical kyphosis.
What is “tech neck”?
Technology-related neck and shoulder pain is a result of ongoing poor posture that puts extra weight and strain on the neck and shoulders.
More people than ever are struggling with “tech neck” after they spend hours per day looking down at their phones or computers. While this positioning may not seem all that dangerous in the moment, it can actually put a great deal of extra weight and strain on your head and neck. In fact, depending on your positioning, it can put up to 60 pounds of extra weight on your neck.
Multiply that by hours spent looking at your phone or computer all day—and it is easy to see why that cervical region can feel so sore and uncomfortable by the end of the day.
Tech neck can be extremely painful and puts a great deal of strain on your spine which can not only cause tension in this area, but stiffness and soreness down the mid-back and shoulders. This condition is also known to cause headaches, neck pain and can even cause disruptions in sleep for some.
Studies are starting to show some of the longer-term effects of tech neck as well, including long-term issues, general wear and tear and worsening spinal degeneration in the neck and back. Over time, tech neck can also lead to abnormal curvature, herniated discs, tension headaches or even tension headaches.
So, what can you do to prevent tech neck?
There are a few things that you can start doing today to help with this condition. This includes the following:
- Raise and position your phone screen higher. This will prevent you from bending your neck and sloping your head forward.
- Invest in a new ergonomically-correct office chair and desk. While phones are the ultimate culprit for tech neck, sitting at a desk where your screen is too low or in an ergonomically-incorrect position can have a similar effect.
- Get a chair with a headrest. Chairs with headrests will help you maintain proper posture and prevent tech neck. This will help hold the back of your head up and in proper position during the day.
- Stretch Your Neck. Set a timer on your phone to move and stretch your neck back into flexion. Look all the way up to the ceiling and put your neck in the opposing position to help get a little relief.
- Get Moving. If you work at a desk job where you need to sit and stare at a screen all day—one of the best things you can do is to get up and start walking around. This will help get your blood circulating and help give your neck a break. Shoot for getting up, even for just a minute every hour.
- Exercise. Make sure you are getting at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise per day to help strengthen and loosen up those muscles in the neck and upper back. The more active you can be and the stronger you are, the better.
- See your chiropractor. Regular adjustment can help you restore that curve in the spine and counter act all of the extra pressure you are putting on your neck and your back. Regular adjustments are critical to preventing tech neck from causing serious issues in the cervical spine.
If you need help with your neck pain, back pain or headaches, come visit us here at McAuliffe Chiropractic Office in Laurel, MD. We can perform an exam and x-rays and get to the bottom of your neck pain, helping you determine whether you have a case of tech neck or another injury that may be causing your discomfort.
Our chiropractic clinic is here to help treat all types of injuries ranging from nagging neck strain to serious auto accidents. We proudly serve patients in Laurel and throughout the Howard County and PG County area. We even offer same day appointments for patients who need some relief to get back to feeling like themselves.
To make an appointment with one of our Laurel area doctors today, call us directly at 301-776-0755 or book an appointment with us online.