Tips for When Technology Becomes a Literal “Pain in the Neck”

Whether you’re reading an email from the boss or loading up your virtual shopping cart, we are all glued to our phones and devices now more than ever before. In fact, recent studies suggest Americans spend more than 5 hours a day reading emails, sending messages and browsing the internet and social media on smartphones or devices. Chances are, you aren’t sitting upright with pageant worthy posture either. “Tech neck” or “text neck” is the term used to describe neck and upper back pain or tightness that is caused by frequently looking down at a device.

When you look down at a device, the angle of the neck and spine shifts out of normal and fully supported alignment. While a few moments of this is not harmful, frequent and prolonged forward flexion of the neck causes the upper spine and back to become strained while working to keep the head upright. The head weighs between 8 and 10 pounds, and this forward angle causes strain on the discs in the spine as they work to hold the weight of the head at this less than ideal angle. The outcome is aching upper back and neck muscles, shooting pain at the base of the neck, and even headaches and stiff shoulders.

Here are a few easy tips to rehab those aching muscles and keep your neck in check:

  1. Use an At-Home Massager: Nothing beats a nice massage, not only because it feels great but because there are several clinical and therapeutic benefits. The Wahl Deep Knead massage wrap has these benefits covered. This massager offers both heat therapy which increases blood flow and loosen muscles, and shiatsu massage therapy which relieves muscle tension and soreness. The six shiatsu massage nodes vary in height to simulate the sensation of real fingers kneading at different pressures. You simply wrap it around your upper back or neck area and you control the pressure for maximum relief. Often the pain we feel in our neck area is due to inflammation. The Deep Knead massager attacks this head-on by increasing circulation and stimulating an anti-inflammatory response in the body.
  2. Set an Alarm: Alarms can be helpful reminders to look up and be present. By setting a 10 or 15-minute time limit you can stand up, stretch and relieve your muscles. This can also be a great time to hydrate and can reduce eye strain as well! If you are prone to ignoring alarms on your phone or device, consider the old fashioned alarm clock or kitchen timer.
  3. Use a Stand: If you can’t avoid using the device (I’m personally guilty), try a stand or cover to prop up the device to a safer angle. This allows you to read or scroll without angling your neck and flexing the head entirely forward. Additionally, a stand can give your thumbs and wrist a break. Stands with clips are great options because they can be easily moved around the house, car or beach chair.
  4. Yoga: Several yoga poses can counteract the pressure build up and pain areas created from tech neck. Focusing on poses that counteract the forward flexing of the neck provide the best relief. Try a pose like cat-cow or downward dog. Hold each pose for 5-10 seconds and then switch. Rotating your head clockwise and counter clockwise can also provide relief, especially when done regularly. Aim to take a “neck” break at least twice a day (tip: try this while using the restroom)

What is your favorite way to relieve aching muscles from too much device time? Tweet me @shilpiMD and tell me if you’ve tried any of these tips or #WahlMassagers

Posted By Dr. Shilpi (EverydayHealth.com)

Original Article can be found https://www.everydayhealth.com/pain-management/technology-neck-pain-tips/

Original Publish Date 7/30/2018

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