The smart phone is very much an appendage nowadays! So much so that on average we Brits spend over 6 hours per day on it! It’s undeniably amazing what we can do with our little pocket computers, however us Chiropractors have noticed a lot more neck, shoulder, upper back, upper limb and headache complaints these days: Let’s talk about the association…
The effect of bending your neck forward
We know that prolonged neck flexion (bending your neck forward) is associated with neck pain due to static musculoskeletal load of your head in a forward position.
For every inch forward of head positioning to the shoulders, the weight of your head gains an additional 10lbs, therefore if your head weighs 12lbs and your forward head carriage is 3inches, the weight of the head is effectively 42lbs in weight (or from 5.4kg to 20kg!)
So what does this mean?
This is fine every now and then but over prolonged periods it can create changes to joints and muscles of the upper body.
Symptoms that can develop include:
Stiff neck:soreness and difficulty in moving the neck usually happens when trying to move the neck after long periods of usage.
Pain: may be localised to one area or diffused over the whole area, usually in the lower neck. The pain may be dull, aching or sharp/stabbing (in more extreme cases).
Radiating pain: pain can sometimes radiate into the shoulders and arms from irritation of nerves and/or muscles.
Muscular weakness: muscular imbalances come about, usually the trapezius, rhomboids and shoulder external rotators.
Headache: the upper neck muscles typically become tight and can contribute to tension type headaches.
As a result of these symptoms, on examination by your Chiropractor, it’s possible to find restrictions in the joints of the spine (particularly the neck and upper back), loss of normal and natural curves of the spine, spinal degeneration, disc compression, reduced nerve function and muscle weakness.
The main problem is incorrect positioning for an excessive amount of time, day after day. It is not unsafe to be in a slouched and poor posture, but it becomes a problem when it’s prolonged and too repetitive day after day.
What can we do?
It is therefore important to improve posture, but also to keep your posture dynamic.
As well as smart phones, work set up is an important consideration. If you’re desk based, set a reminder every 20-30minutes to get up and move and maybe invest in a desk that can be adapted from sitting to standing so you can change working positions.
Take regular tea/coffee breaks, go for walks, do a short workout (if unable in the day find time before or after work).
Try out these simple stretches with Dr Jess for some quick relief:
Strength training is very important for neuro-musculoskeletal health – so a type of regular exercise that you enjoy and can engage in regularly. The key is MOVEMENT!
We can help:
It is inevitable for some tension to develop in the spine from time to time – whether from excessive force from sustained posture, repetitive movement or an accident.
It’s good to get your spine checked from time to time by your Chiropractor. Muscular/soft tissue tension can be managed by a Massage Therapist and in the case where further guidance is needed for strengthening appropriate muscles and mobilising other areas, a Personal Trainer can put you in the right direction.
“I attended the clinic following a positive review from my daughter. I had been suffering from a painful neck and shoulder. Following my first treatment I have felt such an improvement and now I have completed the course, I am completely pain free. i can’t thank then enough!” Maureen Langston
We have all of this at your disposal at Spinal Care Clinics and are always here to help you! So if you’re suffering from pain an tension caused by tech neck, let us help you.