Many people complain of neck pain, from aches and throbs to shooting pains. Neck pain often contributes to tension headaches, as your reaction to the pain causes you to tense your muscles further, and it is also implicated in migraines. You might be surprised to learn that your technology use may be a major contributing factor in your neck pain, but it’s true. At the Failed Back Institute, Dr. Scott Smith, MD helps patients in the Weatherford, Texas area find real solutions for persistent neck and back pain, and he can advise you about your technology use as a contributing factor to your chronic pain problems.
Bent over your phone?
When you look down at a computer, tablet, or phone screen, you incline your head forward instead of keeping it in line with your spine. This puts the whole weight of your head on your neck instead of distributing the pressure over the entire length of your spinal column. After a while, the weight of your head – probably around 10-14 pounds – puts a strain on the muscles of your neck. This leads to neck pain and the development of tension and migraine headaches. The more you angle your head forward, the worse the strain and the greater the pain. Assuming your head weighs 12 pounds, your neck could be dealing with:
- 27 pounds of pressure at a 15-degree angle
- 40 pounds of pressure at a 30-degree angle
- 49 pounds of pressure at a 45-degree angle
- 60 pounds of pressure at a 60-degree angle
That’s more than enough pressure to cause a persistent neck pain problem!
Pay attention to posture
It can be difficult to limit technology use in today’s world, but there are steps you can take to mitigate its impacts on your neck and back. Here are some points to pay attention to when using your laptop or phone:
- Make sure you maintain good posture, keeping your shoulders back and supporting the weight of your head on your entire spinal column
- Use a work chair with good lower back support
- Keep monitors at about your eye level
- Take breaks every 20 minutes, and spend some extended time each day away from technology altogether
- Exercise and stretch your neck muscles by doing shoulder rolls every so often when you’re at the screen, and pay attention to neck muscle strength training in your free time
If you continue to experience neck pain relating to technology use, pain-relieving treatments like upper cervical chiropractic or lifestyle changes may be helpful. If you don’t treat your pain, you run the risk of more serious neck-related problems like early-onset arthritis of the spine, herniation of the spinal discs, and pinched or compressed nerves.
If you have technology-related neck pain, schedule a consultation with Dr. Smith at the Failed Back Institute. Our team can help you find lasting relief through lifestyle modification and other treatments. To make an appointment, call or request online.