In a digital age where you use your tablet for games, your laptop for virtual meetings and your phone for emails, it’s safe to say your neck is bearing the brunt of it all.
Turns out that the pain, soreness and tension you’re feeling in your neck has a name: tech neck. Though sometimes it’s also referred to as “text neck,” the ailment is hardly limited to texting — in fact, anything that causes your neck to hunch forward (think: reading a book) can be a culprit. This type of neck pain is usually caused by abnormal posture due to prolonged use of electronic devices at high frequency.
“Tech neck refers to pain caused by poor ergonomics associated with using cellphones, laptops, and tablets,” said James LinMount Sinai Hospital, New York’s orthopedic spine surgeon. “Think of your head as a ball that a seal is balancing on the tip of its nose. When it is aligned perfectly — when you’re looking straight ahead — it doesn’t take much force to keep it there. When you bend your head forward, however, the muscles in your neck have to work overtime to hold your head in position, which can ultimately cause neck pain and spasms.”
Good news! You can minimize the discomfort of tech neck with a few tricks. These are expert tips.
Tech breaks are available.
This is a difficult task, but taking breaks from all electronic devices can help reduce the chance of developing this disease. Wear an activity tracker to keep yourself in check, set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself it’s break time or, as New Jersey-based chiropractor Blessen AbrahamRecommendations: Take 20 minutes to call your boss and let them know you are taking a break from the desk.
Two times a day, do chin tucks
Chin tucks are a quick easy way to alleviate tech neck — and something you can do while sitting at your desk.
Ronald Tolchin, medical director at Baptist Health’s Miami Neuroscience Institute’s Spine Center, said that you should Place your head on the ground and sit up straight in a high chair. “Without tilting your head, draw your head and chin backwards, kind of like you’re making a double chin. Do this for a sustained, slow stretch. From there, you can try to actively elongate your head upward like there is a string pulling your head upward.”
To strengthen your neck muscles, and promote good posture, do this two times a day.
Lift your workstation.
Your muscles are put under unnecessary stress by hunching forward when you use your tablet, phone or laptop.
“The human neck is an amazing structure that allows you to look in all directions. However, when you bend your neck to an extreme position such as when looking all the way down, in the short term, your muscles can become tired and spasm,” Lin said.
By bringing the screen to eye level — versus lowering your eye level to your device — you can keep your neck in better alignment and prevent it from flexing forward. Consider elevating your computer workstation using a stand desk, laptop tray, or monitor riser. a standing desk convertercan help all types of painYou should do this in all areas of your body, not just the neck. This will not only remove pressure on your neck and back, but it’ll encourage your neck to maintain a neutral alignment, ultimately keeping tech neck at bay.
Change the way you sit.
If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer or laptop, a simple adjustment to your sitting position can make all the difference — and if you’ve elevated your workstation, you’re already halfway there.
“Once your monitor is at eye level, it’ll [automatically] help you sit with a straight back,” said Lin.
A lumbar support and ergonomic chair can ensure that your neck and back remain neutral throughout the day. An office chair can be purchased with integrated support.like this one, which meets experts’ standards), or you can buy a separate lumbar support mesh to add to your current chair (this oneComes highly recommend by pain specialists
Ice packs are used to relieve pain initially, and then you can switch to heat packs.
Tech neck could present in a variety of ways, including a stabbing pain or a painful sore. You can get some relief with ice packs. “Ice packs applied to the back of the neck can be a useful analgesic within the first 48 to 72 hours to reduce both pain and swelling,” Tolchin said.
Then, you can use moist heat. You can wrap a warm towel around your neck to relieve any discomfort. a microwavable heat packFor 10-15 minutes each three to four times per hour.
Get stronger back muscles by exercising.
A strong back is to tech neck what strong teeth are to a cavity — the better shape it’s in, the more resilient it is to damage. Your neck will be more resilient to stress if you keep your back strong. This isn’t a free pass to keep up a bad posture, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to keep your back muscles in tip-top condition.
Tolchin advised strengthening core-strengthening activities to strengthen your back. “The goal is to strengthen the 29 core muscles around your abdomen, spine, and pelvic area,” he said. “These muscles will act as a brace for your spine if strengthened appropriately.”
Pilates-based exercises (with or without a reformer) as well as planks — which help strengthen the extensor muscles in your back, according to Lin — are especially helpful in promoting better overall posture and spinal alignment.
Stretch your door frames to loosen tightness.
Tolchin stated that stretching the door frame can benefit the muscles at the chest wall and shoulder girdle.
Here’s how to do it: “Raise each arm up in the doorway to about 90 degrees at the shoulders and the elbows with your palms facing forward,” Tolchin said. “Rest your palms on the door frame and slowly step forward with one foot at a time to feel the stretch in your shoulder girdles and chest wall. Do this for a few seconds until you feel tension in your muscles. Hold that position for 10 to 15 seconds and repeat three times.”
Massage the affected areas.
It is possible to feel the pain of a tech neck. Radiate from the neck to the shoulders and up into the upper back. You can experience numbness, soreness, and headaches as a result.
This discomfort can be managed with a good massage. it “helps alleviate the soft tissue and upper level muscle tension,” Abraham said. It is also known to reduce inflammation of the neck muscles and can be used as a way to ease stiffness and stress.
Retinol can be used to diminish fine lines.
In the skincare world, tech neck has been dubbed the crow’s feet of the digital era. “Long periods of having our heads staring down at our electronics can cause folds in our neck, and doing this over a long period of time can cause fine lines and wrinkles,” Abraham said.
If you are interested in addressing this issue, try incorporating anti-aging powerhouse retinolInclude retinol in your night-time skin care routine. Just make sure that you’re using a low concentration or a gentle type of retinol cream, as retinol can be irritating for many skin types. (Experts previously told HuffPostThis this L’Oréal creamUse it on your neck.
A good night’s sleep does more than just give you a boost of energy and increase your productivity level — it can actually help relieve your pain since your body repairs itself as it sleeps. You should aim to sleep for seven to nine hours.
But what if your tech neck pain is so debilitating that you’re having trouble getting comfortable? Abraham advises that you sleep on your back and use a pillow to support the head. pillow under the kneesTo reduce stress at the lower back.
“Also, have a pillow under the head or a small rolled towel under the neck to avoid stretching the neck,” he said.