I’ve written a lot about how social media, video games, computers, tablets, and smartphones can do a real number on our mental health. Addiction, sleep disruption, depression—these have all been associated with our dependence on gadgets.
Our favorite tech devices can also lead to physical pain. Hunching over your screen for too many hours on end can lead to something experts call “tech neck” and it’s becoming more and more common.
This head-forward position can contribute to muscle strain, headaches, pinched nerves, disc problems, and even arthritis symptoms in the neck. Left unchecked, this can result in headaches, unrelenting discomfort in your neck and shoulders, pain that radiates down your arms, and numbness or tingling in your fingers. Even worse, you can end up with a dowager’s hump, even if you’re just in your 20s or 30s. Who wants that?
Your head weighs about 10 to 12 pounds on average and it’s meant to rest directly above your body. For every inch you let it hang forward, you’re adding weight that strains your neck. One study in Surgical Technology Internationalreported that depending on how far forward you let your head drop, it could put as much as 60 pounds of strain on your body. 60 pounds!
What can you do about it? Giving your tech devices the boot isn’t practical, but you can learn to shift your head position while you’re using them. Here are a few simple strategies to alleviate tech neck:
- Sit up straight! Your mother was absolutely right when she insisted that you stop slumping your shoulders.
- Get friendly with the foam roller. Use the foam roller to release some tension in muscles around your neck.
- Stretch your neck. Do some gentle neck stretches to relieve tightness.
- Hold your mobile devices at eye level. It might seem uncomfortable at first, but your neck will thank you.
To find videos of general stretches and exercises to strengthen your body from head to toe and to optimize your brain, join our online community at Brain Fit Life.