You may be hearing more and more about neck pain caused by technology. Whether you hear the term text neck, tech neck, or sometimes even Netflix neck, the discussion is about the same thing – how modern lifestyle regarding the use of technology has adverse effects on the neck. If you are dealing with neck pain, could this phenomenon be related? Here are 4 surprising facts about neck pain caused by technology.
#1 Neck Pain Caused by Technology May Lead to Long-Term Problems
Most people ignore neck pain once they decide it is related to technology. They often think, “I’ll just use my phone less this week or take a vacation from the office, and I’ll be fine in a few days.” Unfortunately, once you are feeling pain, you are probably further along in the process of degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae of the cervical spine. The end result can be an early onset of arthritis of the spine or the occurrence of disc problems (herniation, etc.) throughout the back.
Pinched nerves are another problem that can occur when the neck is damaged by constantly looking down at the phone or other electronic devices. Once the natural curve of the neck starts to be affected, it can take a lot of care to restore the spine to a normal position and relieve pressure from the nerves.
#2 Neck Pain Is Not the Only Symptom
While neck pain may be what causes you to realize that your neck has been in a stressed position too often, there are probably other symptoms springing up that you may not have connected to the neck. However, because the neck sets the tone for the whole spine, and the nerves all branch off from the spinal cord, there are a host of issues that can arise. Some symptoms of tech-related neck pain include:
Headaches – When the top bones of the spine are misaligned, it can affect blood flow to the brain, cerebrospinal fluid drainage, and brainstem function. These factors can all lead to chronic headache or migraine problems. It is no wonder that 75% of migraine patients experience neck pain before or during an episode.
Upper back pain – Once the neck is out of alignment, the upper back has to shift to compensate. This can lead to pain in the upper back and between the shoulder blades.
Shoulder pain – The shoulders may also become tight and experience pain or numbness, especially if a nerve is pinched.
Arm and hand pain – Pinched nerves can affect everything from the shoulder to the fingertips. If you are experiencing numbness and tingling throughout your arms and hands, it could be related to the neck pain.
Sciatica – That’s right – upper neck problems can be as far reaching as the lower back and legs. Sciatic pain can result when changes in the spine put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Since this nerve branches down both legs, a severe bout can lead to tingling as far as your feet.
As you can see, the symptoms that accompany neck pain can affect a person from head to toe.
#3 Every Degree Counts When It Comes to Neck Pain
The human head weighs 10-14 pounds depending on the person. If we take an average of 12 pounds, this will allow us to determine just how much of an effect it has when a person cranes the neck forward to look at technology.
At a 15-degree angle, there is about 27 pounds of pressure on the spine. This can happen by something as simple as having your monitors too low on your desk at work.
At a 30-degree angle, the head exerts 40 pounds of pressure. That means even when you hold up your phone at chest level to check a text, you are still more than tripling the pressure on the spine.
At a 45-degree angle, the amount of pressure is up to 49-degrees. It’s something to think about before you lay down in bed with a tablet in your lap to binge watch your favorite TV show.
At a 60-degree angle, you end up with a whopping 60 pounds of pressure. The next time you try to sneak a glance at your texts with your phone in your lap during a red light, just remember that you’re increasing the pressure on the spine fivefold.
#4 You Can Correct the Problem with a Natural Therapy and a Few Lifestyle Adjustments
The good news is that you can make a few lifestyle adjustments to prevent further damage from occurring and there is a natural way to relieve the pain and restore a normal position to the spine. To reduce the effects of technology on the neck:
Maintain proper posture while using technology.
Keep monitors at eye level.
Take breaks from electronics, limiting sessions to 20 minutes at a time.
Have some technology-free time each day when you don’t check your phone or other devices.
Consider chiropractic care.
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Thank you to Upper Cervical Awareness!