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5 Tips for Combating Tech-Neck

18 July 2023

In a modern workplace, tech neck was already a budding phenomenon; however, amidst the pandemic, where many individuals with a desk jobs transitioned to working from home, it's now a growing concern.

As the name suggests, tech neck refers to straining your neck, shoulder, and upper back muscles while using phones, computers, tablets, and other digital devices. The constant bending of your neck to look down at your laptop, computer screen, or phone for too long strains your upper back, neck, and shoulder muscles and leads to musculoskeletal concerns that may contribute to other health problems like migraines, jaw pain, and tension headaches. If left untreated, tech neck can be harmful to your long-term health, which is why it's critical to address this concern.

In what follows, we take a closer look at what causes tech neck and share a few tips with you for combating the painful neck condition.

So, let's get started.

What Causes Tech Neck?

Tech-neck, medically known as cervical kyphosis, is a painful neck condition resulting from persistent neck bending to look forward or down while using electronic gadgets.

While it's often not a concern when you first start using electronic devices, persistent bending of your neck over time can cause pain in your neck and shoulders and result in headaches. Untreated tech neck can also lead to muscle strain, arthritis, pinched nerves, and herniated discs in the cervical region.

The condition happens because when you forward bend your neck, the neck muscles have to work much harder to hold up the neck. When you bend down to look at an electronic device, it puts up to 60 pounds of pressure on your neck.

Since neck muscles, tendons, and ligaments aren't designed to handle such tremendous force, persistently looking at digital devices can strain and tear your muscles, ligaments, and tendons and may even herniate discs. An untreated tech neck may even permanently damage your cervical spine.

If you have a tech neck or spend long hours staring at a digital device, you must know how to combat this painful condition.

In the next section, we share five tips for combating tech-neck and providing you with pain relief and restored mobility.

5 Tips For Combating Tech-Neck

Focus on Your Posture

The most critical consideration for combating tech-neck is to pay attention to your posture. When you have to spend hours staring at the screen, most people go with the flow and hunch over their screens without realizing how awkward their posture is.

To avoid this painful neck condition, the key is to be aware of your sitting posture while working. While working on the screen, you must keep your head and neck as straight as possible. Moreover, ensure that your head is centered over your neck and not pulled forward or backward.

If you find it challenging to keep track of your posture, you can take help from your co-workers, who can point out when you are hunched over your screen so you can quickly correct your posture. The solution may apply to a conventional workplace where you work with your co-workers, but if you work at home, you can ask for any loved one's assistance to correct your posture.

Make Your Workstation More Ergonomic

One of the most effective tips to combat tech-neck is to make your workstation more ergonomic. For an ergonomically supportive workstation, you need furniture and accessories that fit and support your body the best.

To set up an ergonomic workstation, one of the first pieces of furniture you need to invest in is an ergonomic office chair. Make sure you opt for an ergonomic office chair from a reliable supplier that allows you to maintain the natural curvature of your spine. A well-designed ergonomic office chair offers adjustability features that will provide adequate support to your upper, mid, and lower back, along with support to your hips, legs, and feet.

The other most crucial investment to make your workstation more ergonomic is an appropriately heighted desk set that allows you to position your keyboard and mouse such that you maintain a neutral arm and wrist position whether you are sitting or standing. If your existing desk doesn't allow you to maintain a neutral arm and wrist position, consider investing in a keyboard tray that you can conveniently attach under your desk to ensure that your hands are well-rested.

If you are using a laptop's keyboard that doesn't allow you to maintain a neutral hand position, you can also invest in a separate keyboard and mouse that fits your hand well and reduces the risk of pain and fatigue.

To prevent straining your eyes, ensure your laptop or computer's screen is placed at an appropriate height, so you don't have to bend your neck to focus on the screen. To raise your laptop or monitor at the most appropriate height, consider investing in ergonomic accessories by FlexiSpot, like Monitor Stand Workstation S6. The ergonomically designed workplace accessory allows you to elevate your workstation to prevent eye strain and fatigue. Moreover, it also helps create a more ergonomic workspace by allowing you extra storage space for workplace essentials that you want to place in your primary work zone. The workstation is easy to install and can be ready for use in less than a minute, and the attachment of accessories to the workstation doesn't require any tools.

Apart from the appropriate placement of your workplace accessories, you should also ensure good lighting at your workstation to reduce eye-straining. Moreover, appropriate lighting also serves as one of the ways to avoid craning your neck in an awkward position. In the abundance of natural light, you may still need to invest in appropriate lighting equipment to maintain a balance of lighting at your workstation throughout the day.

Take Regular Short Breaks Throughout the Day

An integral part of keeping your body healthy is to be on the go. The human body is designed to be active and mobile, and sitting all day is hence unnatural. Therefore, you must continue taking regular breaks throughout the working day to prevent stiffness and muscle soreness.

Even with the most ergonomic work setup, you still need to get moving to prevent pain and discomfort associated with prolonged sitting and using digital gadgets. When you take a short break and move around, the blood circulation in your body improves, which helps release tension in different parts of your body, including your upper back and neck and aids in reducing inflammation, and also helps restore mobility.

Strictly Follow A Dedicated Neck-Care Routine

Even with the most ergonomic work setup, you need to take measures to prevent and improve your neck's position, and sticking to a dedicated neck care routine is one of the best ways to go about it.

You can incorporate several exercises and stretches into your workday to prevent and combat tech-neck. Some of the following strengthening and stretching exercises you can try while sitting at your desk include the following.

Shoulder roll,

Neck roll,

Arm circles,

Overhead arm reach,

Butterfly stretch,

Seated side rotations and

Upper back squeeze.

Know When to See a Doctor

Tech-neck is a medical condition that appropriate medical intervention. While the tips mentioned above are proven ways to combat tech-neck, if you persistently experience neck pain that doesn't go even after trying out these measures, know that you need to see a healthcare practitioner. And the sooner you do so, the better it is for your overall health, as untreated tech-neck can permanently damage your spine and may lead to other persistent spinal concerns.

If your neck is sore and the pain and discomfort don't go away with these measures, contact a reliable healthcare practitioner who can deal with your concern.

Final Words

Tech-neck is a growing health concern in the modern work environment. Fortunately, there are ways to combat the condition by maintaining a neutral position and setting up an ergonomically designed workstation. Moreover, by incorporating regular breaks throughout your workday and adding a few neck stretching and strengthening exercises to your routine, you can maintain healthy neck muscles that are critical for your overall health and well-being. If the condition persists despite taking the measures mentioned above, you must immediately seek medical assistance to avoid the risk of permanent damage to your cervical spine.

Find out more about ergonomic workplace solutions here.