Have you noticed an increase in neck pain since you’ve had a cell phone? That may not be the result of aging alone. You could be experiencing symptoms of “tech neck.” Here, we’ll discuss what tech neck is and how to prevent neck pain from phone use.
What Is Tech Neck?
Tech neck is a phenomenon caused by persistently looking down at phones, tablets, computers, and other tech devices. On average, a human head weighs 10-12 lbs. When your neck sits at a 45-degree angle to look down at a screen, the weight on your neck increases to 50 lbs. That added weight can significantly impact your posture and general comfort level throughout the day.
Approximately 73% of university students and 65% of people who work from home experience neck and back pain. Over 39% of those adults say that their pain makes them less productive. (Source) This is more than just an inconvenience. It could affect your quality of life if left untreated.
How to Prevent Tech Neck
Prevention is straightforward, but it’s not always easy to accommodate in the modern world. The simple answer is to not look down at phone or computer screens, but you may not have the option of avoiding screens throughout the day.
Try to be aware of your posture when you’re working or scrolling at leisure. When possible, set the screen to eye level. If you’re using a laptop, you could get a wireless keyboard that connects to the computer. Then, you could set the laptop up high and still type at a lower setting that is comfortable for your hands.
When you are scrolling on your phone, try to remember to hold it up higher. The more you angle your neck down, the more strain you’re putting on it. You could even go as far as casting your phone screen on your TV to make the device easier to view at eye level. Keep the focus on maintaining a straight neck.
If you need some extra guidance to break your current habits, you could use a neck brace or travel pillow to encourage you to hold your head up. If you’re using a travel pillow, put the opening of the pillow at the back of your neck and the padded part under your chin. You’ll have a harder time looking down at a screen with a pillow in the way, so you may bring the screen up instead.
How to Treat Neck Pain from Phone Use
If you already have tech neck, there are different treatment options available. The type of treatment that works best for you will depend on the severity of your neck or back pain and what the source of it is. You may be able to treat mild tech neck with a combination of over-the-counter medications and prevention tactics. Moderate to severe pain may require professional treatment for truly effective relief.
Macomb Pain Management offers non-surgical procedural pain relief for neck pain, back pain, joint pain, arthritis, and more. We personalize our treatments to fit each person’s needs, and we target the root of your pain (not just the symptoms). We have worked with many clients who have had tech neck and similar discomforts. Our goal is to find the ideal treatment for your situation and help you achieve a better quality of life.
If you’d like a consultation for neck pain treatment, please call (248) 844-8281 to schedule an appointment.