These days were spending more and more time on our electronic devices. From tablets to cell phones, we’re spending a good deal of our day hunched over reading e-mails, surfing the Web and playing games.
And all that stooping is becoming a pain in the neck, literally.
In fact neck pain caused by all the time we’re spending on our electronics has become so common it’s even been given a name, “Tech Neck.”
5 tips to help you avoid the pain of Tech Neck
If you’re not already suffering from neck pain now’s the time to make a plan so you never do.
#1. Be aware of the Tech Neck problem:
To avoid Tech Neck you first need to understand what it is that’s actually causing the problem.
When we use our cellphones, tablets, or e-readers most of us tend to hold our heads in a flexed and forward position while we look down on them. This position puts your cervical spine in a poor position that can lead to injury and pain.
Repeatedly placing your spine in this position over long periods of time can lead to muscular strain, disc injury and arthritic changes in your neck. And that translates into neck and shoulder pain, headaches and even numbness or tingling in your arms.
Being aware of this poor posture while you’re using your handheld devices is the critical first step.Now you can use my tips 2-5 to keep your neck safe and pain free.
#2. Set time limits:
Now that you’re aware of the danger you’re placing your spine in every time you hunch over your handhelds it’s time to start doing something about it, starting with a time limit.
Limit the amount of time you spend on your cellphone, tablet and e-reader and try to use them less often. If you do have to use one of your handhelds for an extended period of time, make sure to take frequent breaks.
You should work on developing a habit of taking a 3-minute break for every 15-20 minutes you spend on your device. When your 15 or 20 minutes is up be sure to change your posture and move around.
Which brings us to Tip #3
#3 Set automatic reminders:
Since you are already using your smart devices why not put them to work for you to help prevent the neck pain of Tech Neck?
Your cellphone and tablet should have an automatic timer and alarm feature. Until taking regular breaks becomes an ingrained habit go ahead and set your devices to remind you to step away and stretch a bit.
Wearable devices, such as the iWatch, can also be set to give you a gentle reminder every 15-20 minutes.
#4 Use a tablet or cell phone holder:
There are handy tablet and cell phone holders on the market that can do a lot to help you avoid neck pain.
If you’re going to be spending a long period of time using your tablet or cellphone—say to watch a movie or attend an online meeting—you can use one of these holders to elevate your device placing it in a more comfortable position. Try to keep the device as close to eye-level as possible.
A holder will significantly reduce the amount of neck flexion and forward positioning reducing your risk of neck strain. It’s a great tool to reduce Tech Neck.
#5 Take action!:
Pain is a warning sign, so use it!
If you begin to feel uncomfortable stop what you’re doing, change position and take a break.
But if you find you’re still experiencing a pain in your neck, between your shoulder blades, numbness or tingling in the arms, or frequent headaches there may be a more serious issue going on.
If your symptoms don’t improve after following the above steps then it’s time to seek help from a professional.
Dr. Sinicropi attended the prestigious Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons Medical School and completed a combined Research/Clinical Residency at Columbia University’s Presbyterian Hospital. Following residency he sub-specialized in Spinal Surgery through successful completion of the Kenton D. Leatherman Spinal Fellowship at the University of Louisville, where he trained with some of the most well respected Neurosurgeons and Orthopedic spinal surgeons in the United States.
In 2006, Dr. Sinicropi joined Midwest Spine & Brain Institute and quickly developed one of the busiest practices in the Midwest. In 2012, Dr. Sinicropi was named the President and CEO of Midwest Spine & Brain Institute and has continued to expand the Vision of “Right Diagnosis Allows the Right Treatment.”
Dr. Sinicropi has garnered a reputation for providing patients with REAL ANSWERS to even the most challenging diagnosis. Patients who are told that they need spinal surgery often travel to see Dr. Sinicropi to see if there is another potentially less invasive option for them. Patients who have been told, “There is nothing we can do” having sometimes endured years of treatments and incorrect diagnosis, are relieved to hear that there is a solution to their condition.
What propelled Dr. Sinicropi’s interest in orthopedics evolved from an injury as a ten-year old when he underwent orthopedic surgery on his left elbow. Dr. Sinicropi said, “Going through the process of surgery and recovery was fascinating to me as I saw how the doctors were able to remedy my once severely deformed arm and return me back to living a normal childhood. It was at that moment I knew that I wanted to be involved in the medical community.”
With a fitness routine that consists of workouts up to 5x/week, Dr. Sinicropi understands the importance of having proper weight training mechanics as it aids in injury prevention. He is also knowledgeable on how to maintain the proper diet and the importance of sleep to general health, productivity, and longevity. Dr. Sinicropi also follows extreme weather patterns, having a fascination with natural phenomenon’s like hurricanes, tornadoes, nor’easter’s, droughts, floods, etc. Dr. Sinicropi currently resides in Minnesota with his wife and their two sons.
Latest posts by Dr. Stefano Sinicropi (see all)
- The REAL reason for your neck pain (& 2 simple solutions) - May 20, 2016
- Avoid neck pain: 5 simple steps to prevent Tech Neck - March 10, 2016