MarathonPT: Relieving Neck Pain

Marathon Monthly September 2019 Physical Therapy TECHNOLOGY AND NECK PAIN: HOW THEY’RE RELATED

There are several factors that can led to neck pain, but did you know technology can actually play a role in the discomfort you’re feeling? While it may seem far-fetched, many of the positions our bodies take while using technology can lead to pain. Poor posture is a common causeofneckpain,and technology isoften theculprit. In fact, the term “tech neck” has been coined as a way to describe neck discomfort caused by technology use. If you work in front of a computer all day, chances are you begin to hunch over in front of it at some point throughout the day. The same is true for avid smartphone or tablet users. Most of the time, we don’t notice the affect that these devices have on us, but they can be detrimental to our posture and very often result in pain. Pain from “tech neck” is typically reported as a strain in the neck that may be accompanied by stiffness in the shoulders, as well. It is possible for tech neck to also result in headaches, due to the weight that is being placed on your neck and skull. Without making changes toyourposturewhileusing these technologicaldevices, techneckcan result ingradualdamage to thespine,whichcan lead todeeper issues. Yourphysical therapistcanhelpprescribe targetedexercisesstretches foryourneeds, inorder tostrengthen thenecessarypartsofyourbody. For help preventing or correcting your tech neck, contact Marathon Physical Therapy today! So, how can you combat tech neck? You may be thinking, “I work in an office… I need to use these devices every day.” This is a common scenario for many people plagued by neck pain, but there are some tips you can incorporate into your everyday life to release some of the strain on your neck. TIPS TO PREVENT TECH NECK 1.Raisingyourscreen. This is true foranydeviceyoumaybeusing.By raising your computer screen, it is less likely that you will hunch over throughout the day, as you will be at eye-level with your work. Likewise, holding your smartphone or tablet in front of your face, rather than down in your lap or on the table, will decrease the strain caused by looking down at it. 2.Take breaks. It is a good habit to get into taking small breaks (2-3 minutes) every half hour or so. Use this time to get up, take a short walk, and stretch. It will also allow you to reevaluate your posture. Sometimes, we don’t realize when we are slouched or hunched over. Frequent breaks will remind you to get your body moving and will relieve any strain you may have put on yourself. 3. Stretch and strengthen your muscles. Over time, poor posture can lead to muscle imbalances. Tech neck especially can lead to a long-term forward headposture ifnotcorrected.Fortunately, these imbalancescanbeavoidedby stretches and strengthening your muscles, in order to make it easier for your

body tomaintainproperposturewhileusing technologicaldevices. Stretching and strengthening the chest, neck, and upper back muscles will help support the weight of your head and decrease strain on your spine. Abdominal and lower back exercises can also help prevent tech, as these muscle groups play an integral role in supporting your upper body.

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