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What is “Tech” Neck?

If you’re reading this, congratulations: You may be well on your way to chronic neck pain in the foreseeable future. Why? You're staring at a screen, reading this. More people than ever are suffering from "tech neck," a term used to describe neck pain directly attributed to technology use, according to the New York Post. Left unattended, tech neck can turn into serious problems like debilitating chronic pain or even a permanent change in your skeleton. Luckily, you don’t have to swear off screens forever to avoid unsightly and painful skeletal changes. We talked to an expert about a few simple exercises you can easily add to your daily routine to combat the serious strain technology puts on our necks.

Why do we get it?

The body adapts to the stresses and strains what we put on it. We know from a biological standpoint that holding a stretch for longer than 20 minutes can cause that area to lose some extensibility and flexibility. Research shows, those prolonged periods of hunching over our screens are slowly causing our necks to "get stuck" in a more forward position, because those strained tissues lose their their pliability. This can cause a lot of pain and dysfunction. Think of it like this, If you wrapped a rubber band around a bunch of pencils and left it there for a few years, the rubber band [would dry] out, become brittle, and lose its stretch. Well this same thing happens to the muscles and tissue in your neck.

So How Do We Fix it?

Besides making an effort to get away from your screen every 20 to 30 minutes, try adding these easy exercises into your routine. We recommend doing 15 reps of each exercise, at least once a day.

  • Slouch to Over-Correct

  • Over-emphasize a slouched posture, rolling your shoulders forward and bending your neck forward. Then over-correct the position, rolling your shoulders behind you and bringing your chin up toward the ceiling.

  • Chin Tucks

  • Tuck your chin down toward the middle of your neck, as if you were trying to make a double-chin. Then slowly raise your chin back up to neutral.

  • Overhead Reaches

  • Sit or stand with your eyes facing forward and your shoulders pulled down and back from your ears. Slowly raise your arms all the way overhead, reaching toward the ceiling. Slowly return your arms back down to your sides.

  • Scapular Protraction/Retraction

  • Place both hands on a wall. Keeping back and arms straight lean only your shoulders in towards the wall and then back again. When you bring your shoulders forward it’s like you’re trying to pinch them together across your chest. When you bring your shoulders backward it’s like you’re trying to pinch your shoulder blades together. It may look/feel like you are a turtle!

“Tech” neck is becoming more and more prevalent due to the ever increasing technology that is popping up in the world. So when using your technology remember to bring it up to your eye level not your eye level down to it!


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