Everything You Need to Know About Tech Neck
Quick, check your posture!
Are you guilty of having poor posture while reading this article? If so, you may be suffering from a modern day health challenge called “Tech Neck.” Improper posture while utilizing technology is a very common factor contributing to poor postural design.
Technology is recognized as one of the principle causes of the modern day posture epidemic. Poor posture due to looking down at a cell phone is so common that a new medical diagnosis has been created to explain the phenomenon, “Tech Neck.”
Do you suffer from…?
- Neck Pain
- Shoulder Stiffness
If you do, it may be due to your posture while using technology. Repetitive stresses such as checking your cell phone with improper posture or having slouched posture at work on your computer can have a tremendous impact on your posture and your health.
The impact of proper posture is far beyond the musculoskeletal system. Consider the following research studies showing that forward head posture has a negative impact on your health.
Did you know…?
- Stress to cervical musculature caused from poor posture is correlated with high blood pressure. Proper postural alignment has a systemic impact on vascular health (Deuchars & Edwards, 2007).
- Forward head posture can add up to 30 pounds of abnormal leverage on the spine, reducing lung capacity by as much as 30%. Long-term health effects associated with a reduction of lung capacity are heart and blood vascular disease (Cailliet & Gross, 1987).
- Forward head postures during computer-based work contributes to disturbance in the balance of healthy adults (Kang et al., 2012).
- As the head tilts forward 15 degrees from neutral, the force on the cervical spine and supporting musculature increase to 27 pounds. As the tilt increases, the forces increase to 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees (Hansraj, 2014).
Instead of looking down while sending a text message or while checking your email or social media, bring your phone to eye level to avoid excessive strain to your neck and upper back. Also, be sure that when using a computer your screen is close enough where you can see it clearly without jutting your head forward into forward head posture.
For proper posture while utilizing technology, consider the following posture tips to re-train poor posture habits.
- Bring your cell phone or Ipad to eye level when sending a message or searching the Internet.
- When talking on the phone, hold the phone to your ear instead of bending your neck laterally to hold the phone.
- If you make regular phone calls, utilize a headset with earphones and a microphone so you do not have to hold the phone to your ear for extended periods of time.
- When playing videogames, look straight ahead at the TV, computer, or other gaming device. Also, position yourself with proper posture while seated to reduce spinal strain.
- It is very important not to use your cell phone while driving, whether to talk or send a message. Both activities draw attention away from the road, increasing the likelihood of traumatic accidents.
- Position your computer screen at eye level so you aren’t looking down at your computer for prolonged periods of time each day.
Posture by Design, Not by Circumstance
Cailliet R & Gross L, (1987) Rejuvenation Strategy. New York, Doubleday Co.
Deuchars, J., Edwards, I. (2007). Bad posture could raise your blood pressure. Journal of Neuroscience 0638-07.
Hansraj, K. (2015) Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and the Position of the Head. Neuro and Spine Surgery, Surgical and Technology International. 593 p. 1-3.
Kang, J. et al. (2012) The Effect of Forward Head Posture on Postural Balance in Long Time Computer Based Workers. Ann Rehabil Med. 36(1) p. 98-104.