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Do You Have “Tech Neck”?

November 18, 2014

- Do you get neck, shoulder, upper back, or arm pain?
- Do you suffer from headaches or neck “fatigue”?
- Do you wake up with a stiff neck in the morning?

  You may have what we call “Tech Neck”. It is an ailment that occurs from being in a flexed-forward position for too long such as texting, talking on the phone, computer use, driving, reading, watching TV, and even eating. These activities increase the amount of stress and strain on your neck by more than 10 times rather than in its normal lordotic state of shock absorption.

• 90% of adults have a cell phone
• 58% of adults have a smartphone
• 42% of adults own a tablet 

Normal posture places approximately 12 lbs of pressure on each cervical disc. The slightest forward head position triples it! This forward head position also compresses the muscles at the base of the skull which all causes herniated discs, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, headaches, and muscle spasms.
One thing you can do is to begin evaluating the position your head and neck is during phone or computer use. A quick test to assess if your posture is close to normal is the “wall” test. Try standing against a wall with your shoulders, buttocks, and back of your head touching the wall with your eyes looking straight ahead. Although this is “normal” posture, not everyone can achieve it.
The great news is there is help and conservative treatment for “Tech Neck”. The take home message is not to ignore your signs and symptoms. The incidence for this problem has increased over the past few years.

How does Physical Therapy help?
  Physical Therapists have many techniques/forms of treatment that may help.  Treatments may include education in body mechanics and posture as well as  ergonomics, joint mobilizations, cervical traction, spinal stabilization and cervical  strengthening exercises, nerve glides, dry needling, and modalities such as  ultrasound or electrical stimulation. All patients are unique with their pain and  presentation and each treatment will address each patient’s specific needs. A complete  exam, including medical history and a review of your symptoms, can help diagnose  “Tech Neck” and determine its cause and a customized Physical Therapy plan of care  will be developed.
  You can take steps to protect your neck and improve your quality of life. The  therapist can help guide and make suggestions for your future care. The earlier you  get into therapy, the better the outcome may be. Call or stop in to one of our many  facilities for a visit.
- The Advance Healthcare Network. www.advanceweb.com. Copyright 2014.
- Pew Research Internet Project. www.pewinternet.org. 2014.
 

--Bassam S. Kassab, DPT, Regional Director

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