Neck pains, headaches and the feeling of a contracture in your back are the typical symptoms of the tech neck syndrome, that is a bunch of painful symptoms due to the daily use of technology (especially tablets and smartphones).
As Doctor Lara Castagnetti, osteopath and Orthopedic rehabilitation specialist, explains, “Tech-related posture problems are on the rise. Even though we are not aware of this, every time we chat, check our e-mail, browse the net or use socials, we adopt an abnormal posture.
In fact, we tend to slouch, close our chest and bend our head down, towards the screen. This inclination of the head strains the muscles of the neck up to five times more than a normal standing position. In time, this kind of effort may lead to permanent muscular tensions”, the doctor says.
Teenagers are at risk
Smartphone and tablets, thanks to their apps, makes it possible for us to perform actions that just a few years ago did very differently. This translates into an increase of the time we spend online, thus adopting a wrong posture.
Teenagers are particularly at risk, because their muscles and skeleton are still under development. As Doctor Castagnetti reports, “There are many adolescents who lament frequent headaches, back contractures, or discopathy-related spine pains”.
How can you cure a tech neck?
Tech neck syndrome should not be underestimated. In fact, if you don’t intervene immediately, it’s likely that the patient will develop postural modifications in time.
If the pain becomes chronic and you have to constantly resort to painkillers to manage it, you should go to a physical therapist.
Stretching and muscular reinforcement exercises
Neck pains may also affect those who spend a lot of time in front of a computer at work. In fact, keeping still for hours on end doesn’t help your spine. “You should take a break every now and then, standing up every hour or so to stretch your legs”, Doctor Castagnetti suggests.
When you are on pause or at home, you may perform some simple stretching and muscular reinforcement exercises:
- Stretching the cervical musculature: using pointer and middle finger, push the latter backwards horizontally without moving your head upwards or downwards.
- Reinforcing the cervical musculature: place the palm of your hand on your forehead and push, all the while applying an opposite and equal force with your head.
- Stretching the dorso-lumbar region: kneel and lean forward with your arms stretched until you place your hands on the ground and rest the whole spine. While you perform this exercise, you will feel like the lower part of your back is stretching.
- Stretching your chest and front cervical muscles: stand or sit down with your hands on your hips, then move your arms forwards as if you wanted your elbows to touch.
“If we spend many hours per day in front of a computer, we should at least make sure that we do so in a safe way. Both monitor and keyword should be in a position so that our shoulder and neck muscles don’t suffer from it. The monitor should be placed at eye level, and the forearms should be placed on the desk”, the doctor points out.