Smartphones are used for almost everything in today's digital world. It's not unusual to spend hours on your phone or tablet scrolling through social media, texting, or watching videos. It's at the dining table, on the train, and in bed late at night. However, too much screen time has a number of negative consequences for your wellbeing. A new disorder known as tech neck is causing concern among doctors and nurses. All of the time spent staring at a screen is bad for your posture, skin, spirit, and mood. When sending text messages or using your cellphone, do you tuck your head down over your chin and hunch your shoulders? You have a fair chance of getting tech neck. Headaches, neck and shoulder pain, discomfort, and soreness are all symptoms of holding the neck in a forward, downward position for an extended period of time.
What is Tech Neck, exactly?
Neck pain and discomfort are common complaints for people who sit at a desk or work on a computer for long periods of time. Teenagers, college students, and seniors are all affected by tech neck. Tech neck, also known as text neck, is caused by extending your head and neck too far forward over your body for long periods of time. People with tech neck have little to no curve on X-rays. Americans spend nearly six hours a day on average with digital media, up from .3 hours per day in 2008 to 3.3 hours per day in 2017. According to doctors, teen tech neck is on the rise. They spend an average of nine hours a day in front of computers and are more likely to be depressed and lonely.
It takes a toll on the body to be constantly texting and scrolling. To support your head, which weighs 10-12 pounds in neutral position, muscles in the back of your neck contract. The more those muscles have to work to hold your head the more you look down. Your neck muscles are doing the job of lifting a 50-pound bag of potatoes at a 45-degree angle. That rises to 60 pounds at 60 degrees.
That repetitive burden put on the neck can cause muscles to get overly tired, tense and sore. Other symptoms of tech neck include:
How can Tech Neck Cause more problems?
The more you look down, the more your head rolls forward over time. The center in gravity of your head changes as a result of this. It's quick to slip into the trap of looking down while walking or doing everyday tasks, even though you're not scrolling for hours. The discs in your neck and spine are put under more strain as your muscles tighten. This will cause your discs to wear out more quickly, eventually causing them to bulge or rupture. A ruptured disc may pinch a nerve in the arm, causing discomfort, fatigue, or numbness, as well as chronic neck pain. Some people also experience a lack of neck mobility. After looking down for a long time or moving your head from side to side, it can be difficult to look up. To compensate for the forward head tilt, the upper spine moves backward and the hips begin to tilt forward. This constant pressure can throw the entire body out of balance and impose undue strain on nearby tissues. Consider the long-term consequences of all this weight and strain, not to mention poor posture. The muscles, ligaments, vertebrae, and disks in the neck and upper thoracic regions are the first to be strained. Tensing the muscles in your neck and shoulders can lead to long-term muscle problems and discomfort.