Tech Neck

Tech neckWhen I observe my teen age children and their technology use, one thing hits me: The laptop may be close to obsolete. These kids today are using their cellphones for almost everything.

From email, to looking up directions, to perusing the menu of their favorite take-out place, the cell phone is now the primary screen and the laptop or desktop is now the secondary screen.

When I did a recent talk to a local company, I noticed the same thing. People were on their phones, a lot!

While this is awesome, as we are more mobile than ever, what is not awesome is what these devices are doing to our bodies.

Quick anatomy lesson. The most important area of your spine for general health is the neck area, also known as the cervical spine. The cervical spine houses the brain stem, start of the spinal cord, and the nerves that control your arms, head, and nervous system.

Through research we have discovered that the cervical spine, in order for it to function optimally, must have a curve in it. When this curve is present there is less stress on the nerves, spinal cord and ultimately the brain stem.

The issue with society going to a smaller, more mobile screen, is the position we put ourselves in to look at the screen. Watch a person use their phones or tablets and you will see a recurring pattern. Device is held down at their lap and the head is flexed forward so that the chin is practically touching their chest.

This posture takes the natural curve out of the spine and over long periods of time can cause a structural shift in the neck that can prove to be quite painful. Secondary conditions including neck pain, arm pain, carpal tunnel like wrist pain, numbness and muscle spasm are quite common.

What is not measurable is how much this pain slows you down. As any of us who have been in pain can attest to; you are definitely not at your optimal when you are hurting. If you lose even 10% of your energy due to dealing with this pain, what does that cost you in terms of business? If you are a student, what is it costing you in terms of grades?

The question that I get everyday in the office is how can we fix this? Here are some tips:

  • Do not keep device down by your belt line, hold it up higher, even with your shoulders.
  • Tuck your arms in against your body to take the stress off your shoulders and arms, bringing the device closer to you.
  • Take frequent breaks. Watching movies on your phone for long periods of time is a horrible idea.

If you are starting to experience pain in the arms, hands or neck, consider seeing someone that focuses on structural correction. If you do not know anyone near you, feel free to contact me and I will help you find someone.

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