Most of us are on our phones constantly – texting, playing games, posting on social media. On top of entertainment purposes, it’s also an important tool for work and communication with the outside world. But the device that helps us stay connected isn’t always good for our health. The position many of us find ourselves in when using our phones, dubbed by doctors as “tech neck,” can leave us feeling sore at best and cause long-term complications in the neck and spine at worst.
At Spine Group Beverly Hills, located in Beverly Hills and Del Ray, California, Dr. John Regan can help you recognize unhealthy positions you may use to look at your phone without realizing it – and help you correct any damage that you’ve already developed from long-term use.
The position is what matters most
It isn’t the use of your phone itself that’s the problem (although excessive screen time has health concerns of its own), but the position of your neck when you’re on your phone. Our necks play a key role in the movement of our heads: forward and back, side to side. But it’s holding your head up straight that helps maintain the natural curve of your spine, which is compromised when many people bend over to spend time on their phones.
It’s believed that Americans spend up to three hours a day using their phones, with head down and shoulders hunched, therefore bending the spine in an unnatural position. This can put additional strain on your neck muscles, shoulders, and cervical spine, which can cause stiffness, soreness, and “tech neck.”
How to prevent tech neck
We aren’t suggesting that you stop using your phone altogether. But for your health, we recommend changing the bodily position you use when you’re on your phone. You may want to hold your phone at eye level (perhaps while using a supportive device) rather than bending your neck down to look at the screen. Try drawing your shoulders back, stretching your neck and shoulders periodically throughout the day, and taking breaks in which you don’t use your phone (if possible).
Learn more about curing and preventing tech neck
If you have persistent neck, shoulder, and back pain that isn’t getting any better, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Regan to rule out any complications and get treatment. If necessary, he can refer you to a physical or occupational therapist who can help you improve your bodily alignment while at work. For the Del Ray location, call 310-401-1424. For Beverly Hills, call 310-203-2220. You can also schedule an appointment online.