It’s a syndrome that past generations didn’t have to deal with…”Tech Neck.” Tech Neck refers to a repetitive stress injury, where you have your head hung forward looking down at your mobile electronic device for extended periods of time. We all spend time using our phones, tablets or other hand-held devices, and our necks and spines are paying the price.
The constant downward gaze puts enormous pressure on the neck. How much? Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitative Medicine, says “When your spine is in neutral position, the head weighs about 10-12 pounds. At 15 degrees forward, the neck sees 27 pounds. At 45 degrees, it sees 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees, it’s 60 pounds.” Over time, these stressors on the neck can cause wear and tear on your spine, resulting in tears within the disc, slipped disc or herniated disc.
The good news is there are measures you can take to prevent tech neck from causing major problems down the road.
- Take frequent breaks - look up from your mobile device every 15 minutes and bring your head back in the neutral position.
- Posture-focused exercises - exercises like yoga or Pilates focus your attention on attaining the correct posture, and cause you to be more aware of the way you use your mobile devices.
If neck pain persists, it may be time to see a professional. The doctors at NewSouth Neurospine in Jackson, MS are here to help you.