8 Feb 2018 4:02 PM -

Love this graphic showing the effects of position changes to the neck (cervical spine) and the subsequent INCREASE in loading through that area with smartphone or tablet use.
For those of you who spend long periods of time staring at these devices - please consider the effects that this has on your neck and upper back posture in the long term.

The average adult head weighs somewhere in the neighbourhood of 4.5 to 5 kilograms, which means the muscles that support the head and neck are generally equipped to handle about that much weight. However, when you take into account that pesky little thing called gravity you can start to see how as you change the angle of the neck, the head begins to get heavier, up to several times heavier, it turns out.

According to research done by New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, bending your neck at a 60 degree angle to peep at that selfie puts up to 27 kilograms of pressure on your cervical spine. That’s like having an 8 year old on your shoulders while checking your email!

Adopting this position can lead to headaches from overloading the upper cervical joints and soft tissues, nerve impingement (tingling and/or pain in the upper limbs, premature wear and tear on the joints in your neck as well as permanent postural changes to your spine...

We live in a very tech based society these days though, and it is unrealistic to think that smartphone, tablet and laptop computer use will decrease. So what are some little things that you can do to help reduce the problem?

Well here are some tips:

When at work, try raising your computer monitor up so it’s level with your eye line and approximately an arms length away from you.

If sitting at a desk, make a point of setting a timer to get up from your desk once every 30-40 minutes or so to allow a change in your posture for a couple of minutes. This is good on so many levels, not the least of which is getting you moving and letting you interact with actual people!

Try and minimise overall screen time and when using a phone or tablet try and hold it up more to allow your neck posture to be more neutral (like it is when you would be looking straight ahead).

Be mindful of your posture when using devices and try and use them for shorter periods - your neck will love you for it, and if you suffer from headaches - I bet they will reduce as well!

Of course if you are experiencing headaches, neck or upper back pain then don't hesitate to contact us on 8361 8182.

Avoid the dreaded tech neck!

By Matt Walls

Principal Physiotherapist