June 4th, 2021 by GSC Customer Care

tech neck

Minimize the strain on your muscles while using mobile devices

Americans spend an average screen time of 5.4 hours on their mobile phones daily. When you consider the additional time on laptops and tablets, that’s a lot of hours looking at a screen. Some people experience neck pain as a result, which has been termed Tech Neck.

What Causes Tech Neck?
Tech Neck happens when you spend too much time leaning your head and neck forward — the typical position for look-ing down at your mobile device. The muscles in the back of your neck hold up your head, and the average head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds when upright. The more your neck is tilted or bent forward, the harder your muscles have to work against gravity. At a 60-degree angle, your muscles have to work as if your head weighed up to 60 pounds!

What are the Symptoms?
Many of the symptoms of Tech Neck are ones also associated with working at a computer for 40+ hours per week. Below are the most common symptoms you may experience. If you notice any of them, you should take action by adjust-ing the position of your neck and mobile device. If symptoms persist, contact your health care provider.
• Headaches, especially persistent ones
• Pain between your shoulder blades
• Tingling in your neck
• Neck spams and pain
• Shooting pain down the outside edge of your arm

Can Tech Neck Cause More Serious Issues?
The short answer is yes. As your muscles work to keep your head upright, they tighten. This tightening can result in pain throughout your back, but more importantly, it can also result in increased pressure on the discs in your spine. The increased strain causes the discs to wear down faster than they normally would. As discs wear down, you’re at an increased risk of the disc herniating or rupturing, which can cause damage to your nerves and have long-lasting effects on your over-all health.

What Can Be Done to Ease the Strain?
• First, and most importantly, change the position of your mobile devices so you aren’t looking down at them. It’s much better to look straight across or slightly up.
• Hold your smartphone up so its screen is roughly even with your face. This is especially important during long sessions such as video calls.
• Use a stand to place your tablet in the correct position
• Also make sure you’re not looking down at your laptop screen. An easy fix is to place a few books under your laptop to prop it up higher.

If you work from home, you may want to consider buying a new office chair that reclines and provides good lum-bar support. A reclining chair will help relieve some of the pressure from your neck muscles. Lean back while you work and make sure your arms are in the cor-rect position. The most important thing to remember is to pay attention to your pain. If your neck starts to hurt, pause and shift around a bit. Devices are here to stay, so adjust your habits for better long-term health.

Four Ways to Take Action Against Tech Neck

  1. Move around.
    It’s easy to get caught up in watching a video or talking with someone on your device. But, if you can, get up and walk around every 15-20 minutes. Changing position helps your blood circulate and moves more oxygen to your neck muscles.
  2. Tuck your chin.
    Gently pull your chin back and down, so that your chin is resting on your chest. Hold this pose for five to seven seconds. You should feel a light pull in the back of your neck.
  3. Rotate your neck.
    Turn your neck slowly from the right to the left, with your chin moving from the center of your body to the shoulder. If you’d like a bigger stretch, gently push your head with your hand.
  4. Line up your ears with your shoulders.
    Most people have lost a sense of where their necks should sit on their bodies. A good way to check is to see if your ears are parallel to your shoulders. Practicing correct posture will help build muscle memory.