I’ve been noticing a new unhealthy trend overtaking our population and I’m going to call it Tech Neck Syndrome. As a trainer I am seeing more and more clients complaining of upper-back and neck pain, both symptoms of Tech Neck Syndrome.
Not surprising, these are the same clients flexing their necks (causing spinal lordosis) and rounding their upper-backs trying to getter a better view of that tiny smart phone display (yes, even during their workouts). And it doesn’t end at smart phones, think of the hours each day we are straining our necks trying to get a closer look at that improperly positioned 13 inch laptop screen. We are consumed by all our technology for hours on end. Sure we can increase the size of the print on the screen but half of us can’t figure out the shortcut to actually accomplish increasing the font size (it’s command D or command + on your Mac).
I know if I’m seeing this trend in fitness facilities I am sure chiropractors, physical therapists and doctors are probably inundated with neck pain patients; all a result of the minutes, hours, days, months and years of addiction to our devices.
The ACL used to be known as the million-dollar ligament; a term referring to revenue produced by ACL injuries. I think Tech Neck – rounded shoulder syndrome and neck pain – will be the new million-dollar repair as we become even more addicted to our personal electronics.
I have suggested plenty of upper-back and neck exercises to help build strength, improve posture and decrease pain. However, I think a more cost efficient solution to the problem is to be aware of how long you are looking at your computer, and be aware of your posture. There are even apps that remind you to get up and walk around to help combat the ill effects of staring at your computer screen for hours on end.
Unfortunately, none of us are immune to poor posture, upper cross or rounded shoulders. One tip to alleviate Tech Neck: If you must stare at a computer screen for hours, every now and then lie on your belly and rest your body weight on your elbows to flex your back and help prevent poor posture.