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Technology: A Real Pain in the Neck

The possible culprit of your neck pain: your phone

Remember the first time you ever heard of someone getting carpal tunnel syndrome? We’re sure you were surprised to learn that they got it from typing! It was a rarely heard-of affliction mostly due to the insurgence of computers into our daily lives. With new technology, there can often be a learning curve, both in how to effectively use it, as well as how to utilize it in a healthy manner.

Recently, a new injury is causing pain for many tech users: text-neck. The all-too-familiar scene: sitting at your desk or walking down the street, you’re hunched over your smartphone texting your friends or scrolling through social media. Often, your neck is craning your head over your phone and your shoulders are slouched forward. 

This stance can strain your muscles and cause pain and tension in your upper body and neck. Worse, bending your neck over your phone can actually put upwards of 50 pounds of excess strain on your spine. Holding this position repeatedly can lead to headaches and at its most severe, disc injury and arthritic changes to your neck. Some people may even notice tingling and pain down their shoulders, arms, and hands.  

If you are guilty of this texting posture — and hey, who isn’t — it’s time to implement some of these techniques to help prevent permanent injury to your neck and spine.

Take A Break

Take note of how often you find your head, neck, and shoulders in a hunched-over position. You will want to correct the posture to a healthier, more upright position. Look away from your screen every few minutes. This will remind you to sit upright and also has the added benefit of giving your eyes a break from the screen’s light.

Change your phone habits

To combat the strain on your neck, bring your phone up to eye level when using your phone. This position will ease the pain and help with better posture. Invest in phone or tablet stands. These stands can eliminate the need to pick up your phone and crane your neck. Beyond that, you can set automatic reminders or screentime limits to notify you to take a break and adjust your posture. 

Try some neck and back stretches

With the beauty of YouTube and a quick Google search, guided neck and back stretches are easily accessible and can even be done from the comfort of your own desk. Simply type in “neck or back stretches”, select an article or video that suits you, and work the stress and pain out of your spine. In a normal workday, aim to stretch two or three times a day. Bonus, daily stretches can help with flexibility. 

Set your phone aside

If possible, set your phone away from you to decrease the urge to grab your phone. Keep it in a drawer, purse, backpack, etc. or simply turn your phone over (screen down) and set it to silent. Your neck will thank you. 

If you try these techniques and the pain in your neck, shoulders, and back doesn’t subside, it might be time to seek professional help. You can make an appointment with one of our specialists to talk about your neck pain. 

Nebraska Spine Hospital

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