Over the past several months I have noticed a trend in national media covering an emerging health and beauty concern called “tech neck”. Stories have chronicled how you get tech neck, how it negatively effects your health and appearance, and of coarse simple solutions to beat prevent tech neck. You can see examples media coverage here, here, and here. Tech neck for those that are not familiar is a term used to describe the changes in the posture of your neck due to our increased use of technical devices (computers, tablets, phones and so on.)
Tech Neck WrinklesThe negative effects of tech neck are numerous and range from minor inconveniences to major life altering consequences. Our national media has primarily focused on arguably the least concerning of all the complications associated with tech neck which is increased wrinkles and droopy skin in the front of the neck sometimes referred as “turkey neck.” While looking good is important to the vast majority if not all of us as a Chiropractor I would be re-missed not to highlight many of the other consequences of tech neck.
The first and most common side effect we see from tech neck is neck pain. Because of the increased use of devices the posture of our neck begins to change from our normal and ideal position. When this happens it will first put increased stress on the muscles that support our head. This leads to achy dull pain generally worse at the end of the day. Furthermore bones of your neck begin to alter their alignment and range of motion is decreased. Pressure is displaced from the normal weight bearing joints to the discs of the spine which in turn increase likely hood for disc injuries such as herniation and bulges. Due to the change of weight displacement and increased pressure faced by our neck joints arthritis sets in at a much earlier age than would have under normal forces. Alignment changes increase the probability of having a pinched nerve that can send pain shooting down into the back as well as into the arms. Headaches, numbness and tingling into the hands, degenerative disc disease are more likely and happen at earlier ages due to tech neck. Lastly due to some of our most recent research on our body posture and how it affect our quality and duration of life towards our later years it could be reasoned that the postural changes that are present in tech neck can actually decrease life span!
The next time you hear about tech neck in the news I hope you will realize that it is not just an issue affecting our overall appearance but truly having negative effects on our health. Next post we I will discuss somethings you can in your day to day life to help combat tech neck.