First world (neck) problems

By Tim Ho
Physiotherapist at Life Ready Physio Yokine


It has been over a decade since the first iPhone was released in January 2007 and our reliance on mobile devices and technology has only increased over that time. The terms “text neck” and “tech neck” both refer to neck pain and associated conditions that relate to the poor postures we adopt when using our mobile phones, laptops, computers, tablets and gaming devices.
In good or ideal posture, your head is aligned over your shoulders which allows for even distribution of the weight of your head axially by the spine, resulting in less effort of your postural muscles to maintain this position.
In contrast, the typical posture we tend to assume whilst using our technological devices is that of a forward head posture or a flexed neck posture usually with rounded shoulders. This flexed posture can increase the mechanical load on the neck 3-5 times that of balanced upright posture, which results in the muscles around your neck having to work much harder to keep your head in that position.

Tips for preventing “text or tech” neck 

  1. Correct or make modifications to your posture by using a tablet holder, holding your phone upright, or prop your laptop up so that the screen is at eye level. This will reduce the amount of flexion at your neck which in turn reduces the mechanical demand on your neck
  2. Take frequent breaks or limit the time spent on these devices. If you are sitting for long periods, get up off and go for a short walk or consider a standing work station. It is recommended to have short frequent breaks of 5-10 minutes every 50-60 minutes that you are desk-bound
  3. Stay active or engage in regular physical activity like Pilates, yoga and tai chi which condition your muscles so that they are better equipped to tolerate load and don’t fatigue as quickly. Exercise is also great for maintaining joint mobility

 

If you are suffering from “tech or text neck” our Life Ready physiotherapists are well equipped to provide the right advice, treatment and tailor specific exercises to help you manage and prevent technology and posture related pains. Contact us for an appointment today!


 Images via 98five.com and thephysiocompany.com