5 Simple Strategies To Combat Tech Neck
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “Tech neck” a few times. It is a term used to describe the forward head posture that occurs when the neck slants forward, placing the head further in front of the shoulders rather than directly above.
Think about how many hours we spend a day looking down at a smartphone or tablet for leisure, or sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time at work looking into a computer screen. As Gavin Morrison highlights in “How Poor Posture Causes Neck Pain,” “…this head position can lead to several problems:
- Increased stress on the cervical spine – As the head is held forward in poor posture, the cervical spine must support increasing amounts of weight. One rule of thumb is that for every inch that the head is held forward in poor posture, an additional 10 pounds of weight is felt on the cervical spine. So if the average head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds, just 1 or 2 inches of forward head posture can double or triple the load on the cervical spine.
- Hyper-flexion and hyper-extension – The lower cervical spine goes into hyper-flexion with the vertebrae tilting too far forward. The upper cervical spine, however, does the opposite and goes into hyper-extension as the brain automatically keeps the head up so the eyes can look straight ahead. This alteration of the cervical spine’s curve lengthens the spinal canal distance from the base of the skull to the base of the neck, causing the spinal cord and nearby nerve roots to become somewhat stretched.
- Muscle overload – Some muscles in the neck and upper back must continually overwork to counterbalance the pull of gravity on the forward head. As a result, muscles become more susceptible to painful strains and spasms.
- Hunched upper back – Forward head posture is often accompanied by forward shoulders and a rounded upper back, which can lead to more pain in the neck, upper back, and/or shoulders.
The longer that poor posture is continued—such as being hunched over a computer or slouching on the couch—the more likely that neck pain, stiffness, and other symptoms may develop” – some being long term.
Further, it has recently been released that by living more sedentary lifestyles as we are now because of the Computer Age, we are putting ourselves at much greater risk for obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease, even in the deterioration of brain health. The practice of proper posture, daily exercise, and more frequent intervals of stretching throughout each day can’t be stressed enough in today’s age.
As reiterated in a recent article “Americans Sit More Than Anytime In History And It’s Literally Killing Us” by Forbes contributor Nicole Fisher, this is highlighted even more along with posed risks.
“…the average American adult sits more than at any other time in history. Sedentary jobs have increased 83% since 1950 according to the American Heart Association. And, Johns Hopkins contends that, “Physically active jobs now make up less than 20% of the U.S. workforce, down from roughly half of jobs in 1960.” For the typical person, more than half of their day is spent sitting. The normal office worker sits a shocking 15 hours every single day. And people who have long commutes, even more. This is especially troubling given that research indicates too much sitting offset health benefits of working out.
Here are our Top 5 strategies to combat Tech Neck and develop a less sedentary lifestyle.
1.) Raise the height of your computer screen, and make adjustments to your desk and office chair if needed. (See photo)
2.) Take frequent breaks to stretch the back, leg and neck muscles. This helps in keeping muscles activated and oxygenated. (Watch Video)
3.) Choose an exercise that requires full body engagement – (i.e. ballroom dancing could easily be nominated for being one of the best physical exercises out there because of overall conditioning and lengthening of the entire body and all muscle groups. Most importantly, it demands proper frame and posture of the head, neck, shoulders, arms and spine at all times. This is essential because of dancing with a partner requires there to be a strong frame so that you can move together across the dance floor. It also reduced tension, stress and anxiety, and often becomes a way to escape and feel mentally refreshed.
4.) Put the correct posture into play – in all other activities, everyday! You can go about any daily physical activity, and do it with correct posture or without. So do some research and see if you might be using improper posture, even on the simplest of activities. There are many visual illustrations out there to help you. (See photos)
5.) Limit/monitor the amount of time you spend being sedentary in your leisure time at home. Get outdoors more, go for walks, and exercise regularly! Walk with your head up and breath deep breaths periodically to be more in tune with your body, and to re-oxygenate.
Hope you enjoyed!
Be sure to sign up for a complimentary lesson if you’d like to see what ballroom dance is all about. We’d love to have you come in and see our beautiful studio, meet our professional instructors, and speak with other members!
Before you go, I invite you to listen to this heart-felt testimony from one of our students. Same topic and she’s seen amazing results regarding improved posture and well-being.
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