Tech Neck in Omaha
If you go out in public, you’ve seen tech neck. “Tech neck” is the relatively new term for the head being carried forward and down, the result of looking down at a screen or technology too often. When you look down, such as when working on a computer or looking at your phone, the muscles in the back of your neck have to work hard to hold your head up. The more often you look down, the more those muscles have to work. Eventually, the muscles in the back of your neck can lengthen and the muscles in the front of the neck can shorten, making it even more difficult to hold your head in a normal position. The following article provides more information on tech neck, common symptoms, and how to treat it. Our Omaha chiropractors and physical therapist have over 20 years of experience treating the neck and spine, and just as much experience working with and treating tech neck!
In its normal position, the weight of the head on the neck is 10-12lbs. With every degree of forward flexion, the relative weight of the head on the neck increases. At just 15 degrees of forward flexion, the weight of the head becomes 27lbs. At 30 degrees, that weight becomes 40lbs, and at 45 degrees almost 50lbs! If you’re really looking down, with the head at 60 degrees flexion, the relative weight of the head becomes 60lbs. The strain this extra weight puts on the neck muscles is excessive and can lead to a plethora of issues.
Symptoms & Treatment
Tech neck can cause a variety of symptoms, including headaches, neck stiffness, neck pain, shoulder pain, upper back pain, pain between your shoulder blades, and pain shooting down the arm. Eventually, prolonged positioning with the head flexed forward wears out the discs in your neck and can lead to arthritis, disc herniations, and nerve disorders. Prolonged forward flexion may also permanently alter the spinal curve in your neck.
Treatment for tech neck is multi-faceted. Initially, chiropractic adjustments and in-office treatments are utilized to restore proper motion, reduce muscle spasm, and decrease pain. As treatment progresses, at-home exercises and stretches become important to relax, strengthen, and lengthen the muscles in the front of the neck, and relax and strengthen the muscles in the back of the neck. You may also be given ergonomic recommendations for work and home to help reduce the effects of tech neck and restore proper biomechanics.
One of the biggest at-home changes to make is to get up and move around after sitting for 30 minutes. A good rule of thumb is to get up and move for 2 minutes for every 30 minutes sitting.
If you are suffering from tech neck or have any of the above symptoms, give us a call to see how our Omaha chiropractors and physical therapist can help you! Click here to schedule an appointment or call 402-408-6561!