Have you heard the term ‘Tech Neck’?
So what is “Tech Neck”? – Do you suffer from Tension Headaches or do you have pain in your neck and shoulders when you are using your mobile phone, computer or tablet? Perhaps you work in an office spending a lot of your day seated at a computer constantly doing repetitive movements with your arms in front of your body.
It’s 2019, and more and more I am seeing clients with the same set of symptoms—pain in their Neck, Shoulders and Headaches.
So what is ‘Tech Neck’?
Tech Neck is described as a repetitive stress injury that causes ongoing Neck pain. Tech Neck is caused by looking down too much. Your head is heavy, and when you are repeatedly looking at your device, the muscles in the back of your head (Trapezius/Levator Scapulae/Suboccipitals) become tired and weak. In contrast, the muscles at the front of your neck (Sternocleidomastoid/Scalene/Pectoral) become tight.
This postural imbalance places pressure on the vertebral discs and nerves of the cervical and thoracic spine. Tech Neck can be diagnosed with specific symptoms presented by a client, including:
- Recurring Headache when looking at your device
- Instant Neck/ Shoulder pain when looking at your device.
- Dull, nagging or sharp pain in your Neck/Shoulders, especially at the end of the day.
With the way things are these days, it is not surprising that many people are experiencing these symptoms. Most people spend many hours a day looking at their device. It’s even a scary thought to think that this term in many of our lives is plural! Many people are using a computer at work, a tablet sitting on the couch and a mobile phone frequently throughout the day.
Do you know how many hours a day you spend looking at your devices? Head down, and shoulders slumped forward, maybe even your arms awkwardly holding your device in front of you?
It’s funny to think that only 15 years ago I didn’t own a computer and my mobile phone was only used for calls and texts how things have changed. I know I can definitely feel the difference in my body. The problem with these differences is that these postural imbalances will, in time, pull your vertebrae out of alignment, causing chronic issues and ongoing discomfort.
What can help Tech Neck?
Regular Remedial Massage is a great way to loosen the muscles in your neck and shoulders and can also relieve headache symptoms associated with Teck Neck. During your Remedial Massage treatment, direct pressure is applied to the muscles, and Remedial Stretching known as PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) to increase mobility in the muscles and joints will also be used.
It is important to understand and treat all the muscle imbalances in the associated area, not just where the pain is to get the best results from the treatment. Trigger Point Therapy and Deep Tissue Massage work extremely well together in treating this condition. It has been gratifying watching my clients walk out happy and pain-free following their Remedial Massage treatment.
What can you do at home to help Tech Neck?
The one thing I tell all my clients that present with these symptoms to do at home every day is straightforward and effective.
Roll up a towel like a sausage, place it lengthways under your spine lying on the floor, move your arms out like a ‘T’. Relax for as long as it takes for the tension in your chest to subside and your arms to lie naturally on the floor beside your body. It can take up to 20 minutes so be patient and relax, take some deep breaths knowing that when you stand up your shoulders will sit back and down, and your head will feel lighter.
- Pain is your bodies warning sign to change bad postural habits.
- Stay hydrated
- Be aware of your posture. If your body alignment is out, stop, stretch then begin again.
- Take regular breaks
- Don’t use your phone as a computer. Set yourself up ergonomically to reduce strain on your neck and shoulder muscles.