Neck pain is a daily reality for many of us. If you look at your daily routine and more specifically your posture and body position, you might notice that you’re spending a large portion of your day in a less than optimal position. Staring at computer screens, reading a book, or propping ourselves up in bed to watch TV all push us into an unnatural position. And more recently, the amount of time spent on mobile devices has us looking down for extended periods of time, leading to the development of a condition known as “tech or text neck”. Continue reading for more insight into the causes of tech neck, how to avoid it, and what you can do to treat it.
What is Tech Neck?
Tech neck is a relatively new condition that has resulted from the increased use of portable electronic devices like laptops, tablets and mobile phones. It is the result of repetitive stress on the musculature and structures of the neck and upper back that results from improper posture while using these electronic devices. This position includes forward flexion of the neck, pushing the chin forward, and rounding of the upper back and shoulders.
Professionals who work on a computer and younger individuals who often spend more time on their devices can often be more susceptible to tech neck when compared to others. The work from home phenomenon has also contributed to this condition with less than ideal home office setups.
How is Tech Neck Diagnosed and what are the Symptoms?
When visiting a Maple Grove chiropractor, tech neck is typically diagnosed through a health history and physical assessment that often includes a posture evaluation and X-Ray analysis. A history of prolonged use of portable devices as well as changes within the cervical curve of the spine can lead to a diagnosis of tech neck, especially in the absence of other causes. During the exam, tenderness in the neck area on palpation, muscle tightness, and reduced range of motion are often signs of tech neck. X-Ray and other imaging can also help rule out other conditions such as degeneration, disc bulge or herniation, fracture, and other conditions that may require different treatment.
The most common symptom of tech neck is pain and muscle tightness in the neck as well as associated pain in the head, upper back, and shoulders. Symptoms can often vary from mild to severe depending on each individual and the severity of the condition. Pain often intensifies when looking down or holding your neck in the position that leads to tech neck.
Pain is often accompanied by reduced mobility in the neck and upper back. This is often caused by muscle tightness and spasm from the increased stress that is being placed on the tissues throughout the day. Pain usually is improved in the morning and increases throughout the day as the muscles are challenged and subjected to the tech neck positions that caused the issue.
Common associated symptoms of tech neck include:
- Neck stiffness
- Back pain
- Frequent headaches
- Poor posture including forward head posture and rounded shoulders
- Tight or weak muscles
- Vision problems
- Numbness or tingling in the arms and hands
- TMJ or jaw pain
Best Treatment Options in Maple Grove for Tech Neck and Neck Pain?
The good news is that tech neck typically responds well to conservative treatment. Addressing symptoms usually consists of a combination of chiropractic treatment in Maple Grove to address joint misalignment, stretches and exercises to improve range of motion and improve strength, massage therapy to reduce muscle tightness and spasm, and lifestyle modification to reduce the repetitive stress that we often place on our neck and back.
Some easy at home tips for pain relief are:
- Raise your screens to the level of your eyes. This will reduce the time spent looking down and the stress on the neck. Adjusting your monitor or using a stand for your mobile device are simple modifications that you can do at home.
- Take frequent breaks from electronics and other activities that require long periods of holding your head in a singular position.
- Be conscious of your posture. Stand up straight, pull your shoulders back, and keep your chin from jutting out.
- Exercise. Movement is life! And the more we can keep the muscles and joints of the body moving, the healthier they will be.
- Stretch on a daily basis. Maintaining proper flexibility of the tissues of the body will help maintain proper overall joint and spinal motion.
- Hot/cold therapy can reduce inflammation or swelling in an area and promote proper circulation of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the body.
Maple Grove Chiropractic Treatment for Tech Neck and Neck Pain
At our Maple Grove chiropractic office, adjustments are key to restoring proper joint alignment. The repetitive stress caused by the poor posture associated with tech neck can lead to misalignments and dysfunction within the spine. These dysfunctions often lead to pain and decreased function. Prolonged stress and misalignments within the spinal joints can contribute to degenerative changes within the spine or exacerbate already damaged or weakened joints.
Chiropractors can also recommend additional therapies including deep tissue massage treatment, rehabilitative exercises, at-home supportive stretching and strengthening exercises, as well as a number of other therapies. Chiropractic treatment often consists of a series of adjustments performed over a number of weeks that will restore proper joint alignment as well as facilitate proper healing of any damaged or effected soft tissue structures.
How Do You Prevent Tech Neck?
Fortunately, many of the treatment options for tech neck are also the actions that can be taken to prevent it. From lifestyle modification to proactive treatment approaches, there are a number of things that can be done to avoid neck pain and tech neck in your life.
Here are some of the top ways to prevent tech neck:
- Good posture while working or using devices
- Frequent breaks while working
- Exercise including stretching and strengthening
- Chiropractic care
- Massage therapy
- Physical therapy
- Stay hydrated
- Eat a healthy diet with low inflammatory foods
- Getting plenty of quality sleep
- Buy a quality mattress and pillow
- Utilize proper ergonomics while lifting
What should you do next for Tech Neck?
Though tech neck is often straightforward in diagnosis, it also should not be ignored. Prolonged stress on the spine can lead to structural changes and chronic pain. Our chiropractors in Maple Grove MN can determine the origin of your neck pain and determine the best treatment approach to find relief and healing. If you are suffering from pain, get in touch with a Maple Grove chiropractor today at Total Spine Health and Injury Center. We’ll help the symptoms of your tech neck become a problem of the past.