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With the advent of the smartphone Tech Neck has become a problem and fast becoming a formal diagnosis from doctors. The problem lies in the habit and the aftermath. Most people view their smartphone several times throughout their day and are spending more and more time on them with their social features and ease of access to news and data. The access to all of this information is good, but the repetitive nature of looking down is training our posture and neck to work in a way it was not intended to. This can lead to a number of health problems. Tech Neck can be responsible for your neck pain, shoulder pain, pain between your shoulder blades, fatigue and even headaches. Here are the pieces to the puzzle to correct this.
1. Identify the habits
Make a analysis of hove much you are using your phone or device. Even ask your friends for their insight. That objective perspective can tell you a lot. Pay attention to what the triggers are. Do you have notifications on that trigger you to start looking at your device? Consider turning those off. Also, do you find yourself going to your phone when you have down time or when you see others on your phone? This is all good information as you can now start to modify those habits so that you are not on your device with your head forward flexed slowly retraining your anatomy into this position that will ultimately affect your health and cause more pain.
2. Do you need a doctor’s help?
Pain is always an indication that there is a problem and tissue has been damaged. It is our body’s way to get us to stop doing something. If you have previous injuries and/or pain in those shoulders, neck or head for more than 48 hours it is time to consult with a chiropractor. They will do a thorough evaluation and provide treatment if indicated. If you have the cardinal sign of Tech Neck on your x-ray, a straight neck spine forward off of your shoulders, then corrective care will be necessary. Corrective care addresses the previous damage and alignment of the spine to mold it back to its original state.
3. Get some new habits
Your habits define your health. In order to keep your spine healthy and restored from overuse of your phone or device you will need to employee some new habits. I encourage you to do exercises like the video above as well as any exercises the encourage proper alignment of your shoulders and shoulder blades. The biggest habit to change is how you interact with your phone. Studies demonstrate that we are on our phones and devices more than we need to be. So find times when you can turn your phone off and put it away such as while dinning, when you are having family time or working. All of these will be a lot more enjoyable without the interruptions! Secondly, since using a hand-held device is inevitable, make sure you consciously limit your time and then followup your usage with neck and shoulder stretches and strengthening exercises like the one above. Doing this will save you a lot of pain down the road.