Between working on computers and checking Instagram or playing games on the phone, most people develop neck problems and poor posture. Aptly dubbed “tech neck,” the pain worsens with the continued use of screens. Whether you crane your head down while checking emails or slouch in a chair while entering data, the pressure can cause immense stiffness and strain on the neck.
What Is Tech Neck?
The vertebrae in the neck are only meant to handle 10-12 pounds, which is the head’s neutral weight. When you crane your neck, angling it down and forward to look at screens, you actually apply up to 50 pounds of pressure on the bones and muscles. The sad truth is that people don’t realize how hunched over they are when they look at screens. They assume a subconscious position that puts undue stress on the neck. Many doctors have had to recommend rehabilitation for people with tech neck because they experience:
- Muscle spasms
- Neck and upper back stiffness
- Trap pain
- Sharp shoulder pain
People have dramatically increased screen time over the years, which explains tech neck. The good thing is that you can reverse the condition, alleviating your body from current discomfort and pain. Use the following five tips to help reverse your tech neck.
Download Posture Apps
You’re most likely on your phone for a good portion of the day, so why not download another app that benefits your health? Posture apps send you reminders to correct your posture. Some apps are even hooked up to a device that you adhere between your shoulder blades. This device detects how often you slouch and it can give you a little vibration to remind you to sit up straight.
Engage In Stretches
Chiropractors recommend engaging in certain stretches throughout the workday, provided you work at a computer. The easiest stretch is to sit on the edge of your chair and interlace your fingers behind your back near your buttocks. Pull your shoulders down and squeeze the shoulder blades together. Hold this position for about 30 seconds and be sure to take deep breaths throughout the stretch. Relax and repeat for a total of three or four times. Following your workday, you can engage in prone stretches or exercises. These include baby cobra, superman holds, and upward facing dog.
Try A Standing Desk
Standing up is a great way to improve your posture, but you have to make sure that you pay attention so that you don’t slouch. When you stand up to work, it’s best to have your computer at eye level. This helps you avoid looking down or up, both of which cause strain in the neck. If you don’t want to stand up and work, sit in an ergonomic chair with a headrest to avoid flexing the neck forward. You can also try to sit on an exercise ball to sit up straight.
Be Aware Of Your Posture
It’s easy to neglect your posture, so correcting your slouching or craning neck requires work on your part. You can’t just ignore it because you are probably unaware of how often you slouch. Set reminders on your phone or smartwatch to look up. Additionally, when you sit down in a chair, keep your feet flat on the floor with your shoulders down. Hold in your lower abdomen and this will help tremendously. You can also rest your elbows on your desk to help prop up your upper body.
Whether you work from home or work at a desk, you can improve your posture by taking a break every hour. You can even implement these breaks into your off days. Motion is the lotion that you need for healthy muscles and joints. Remaining in one position for hours on end inhibits blood flow to the muscle and joints, making them stiff over time and causing pain. Get up and incorporate motion into your day to take that strain away from your neck and shoulders.