While technology can make our lives much easier, it also comes with some unfortunate trade-offs. Because we spend so much time looking down at screens and phones, a lot of us have at one point or another experienced a particularly irritating condition known as tech neck.
Tech neck, also referred to as text neck, is a stress injury caused by looking down at your phone, laptop, or tablet and staying in this position for long periods of time. The solution can be quite simple, so we at The Spine Center at the Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge offer you five simple, mindful changes that you can make.
Take frequent breaks
While we understand that many of our jobs require continual screen time, often on multiple devices, you can still space out your screen time by taking spaced-out breaks. We recommend taking 2-3-minute breaks every 30 minutes. It might help to set reminders on your phone or watch. It would also help, if possible, to spread out your screen time throughout the day.
Keep your screens at eye level
It’s helpful to keep your electronic devices at eye level. This prevents sloping your head and neck down. To keep your screens raised more conveniently, it might also help to invest in a holder or a second screen.
Use a headrest
Sitting in a chair with a headrest while you work helps prevent your head and neck from bending down, leading to stiffness and strain. Make sure the back of your head remains in contact with the headrest for best results.
Stretch and move often
Stretching to keep yourself from staying in the same position helps prevent stiffness and cramps. You’ll want to concentrate on stretching the muscles associated with tech neck, including the neck, chest, and upper back muscles.
Trust your body’s signals
It’s good as a general rule to listen to your body’s pain signals, and not to ignore warning signs like cramps, aches, and other signs of discomfort. Look out for these signals in your neck area, as well as between your shoulder blades, numbness or tingling in your arms, or migraines.
What to do if you’re experiencing neck pain
While tech neck can be quite common, some causes of neck pain can be quite serious. If you’re experiencing neck pain that persists even after modifying your posture and adjusting your routine, it may be time to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced physicians. To make an appointment, call The Spine Center at one of our three convenient Baton Rouge-area locations or request your visit online.