Texting, answering emails, online shopping or simply watching endless episodes of “Friends” on Netflix; sure, we’ve heard habits like these can be bad for your eyes and attention span, but one of the most recent ailments attributed to these behaviors might surprise you.
So, what is it? Do me a favor – if you’re a millennial and regularly do the things I mentioned above, look at yourself in the mirror. If you’re like me, you may have noticed one or two horizontal lines on your neck. These could be caused by a new phenomenon called tech neck.
Now, don’t think you’re getting off the hook with just a couple lines on your neck! A new study conducted by Surgical Technology International found that tech neck can add up to 50 pounds of pressure on your spine, resulting in poor posture and other side effects.
Think this sounds like a bunch of malarkey? I can personally attest to the dangers of tech neck. After about a year of owning my first cell phone (in the good ol’ days of the Motorola Razr), I started having frequent, unexplained pain in my wrists. After seeing a few doctors and specialists, they concluded that I had developed carpal tunnel syndrome, and the best option to correct it was surgery. Lucky for me, I was extremely squeamish and terrified of getting surgery on my wrists. That’s right, I said “lucky.”
After unwillingly accompanying my father to his chiropractor appointment and discussing why I was wearing braces on my wrists with the doctor, we decided it couldn’t hurt for him to have a look at my spine. Turns out, being so wrapped up in texting all the time had caught up with me. My frequent texting and computer usage caused the upper portion of my spine to straighten in an unnatural manner, which pinched a nerve that shot pain down to my wrists. Crazy, right?
Now, I know it’s virtually impossible to avoid the devices that cause tech neck, but there are a few tips that can help prevent discomfort, bad posture and those unsightly lines.
- Keep your ears parallel with your shoulders.
- Stop resting your chin on your hands.
- Prop up your computer with a couple of books so your screen is eye-level.
- If you use a laptop, get a laptop stand, wireless keyboard and mouse so you’re not forced to look down so much.
Have any other tips to help prevent tech neck? Let us know in the comments below!