Tech Neck – How Heavy is Your Head & What You Can Do to Lighten the Load

Do you frequently find yourself suffering from a sore back and neck?

The causes are a very common occurrence in today’s society – a cell phone, tablet, laptop. Poor posture caused by the incorrect handling of our tech gadgets is creating the perfect environment and conditions for us to start growing hunch backs long before we’re meant to.

“Tech neck” is what happens when you crane your neck to view the screen of a device that’s below eye-level. Holding your device too low (below chest level) forces your head to crane outwards. The average human head weighs 10 to 12 pounds when at rest in neutral position. With a 15-degree tilt, your head now exerts close to 27 pounds onto your cervical spine. At 30 degrees, it’s closer to 40 pounds. With a 60-degree bend, your head now puts almost 60 pounds of force onto your cervical spine – that’s a lot of additional weight.

What can you do to prevent forward head carriage?

  • Keep your screen at a level relative to your natural gaze when seated
  • Hold your phone or tablet at or slightly below eye level
  • Take short breaks; it’s recommended to take a 5-minute break for every 20 to 30 minutes of sitting and looking at a screen
  • Yoga – stretch out those muscles!
  • Practice keeping your head in neutral position with your ears aligned over your shoulders

If left for long periods of time without treatment, tech neck or Forward Head Carriage, can disrupt many areas of your life from the associated pain. Symptoms often include headaches and migraines, numbness in hands and fingers, tension in your shoulders and general aches in your upper body. Spending extended periods of time with this improper posture can lead to rounded shoulders, shortened chest muscles and elongated back muscles which can make it very difficult to reverse the effects of tech neck. As with anything, preventative treatment is key.

 

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