The use of technology is so ubiquitous is today’s society, it’s no wonder that more individuals are experiencing pain around their neck and shoulders than ever before. “Tech neck”, along with other less than ideal habits including a sedentary lifestyle and poor posture often create a perfect storm of chronic, painful muscle tension. If left untreated, chronic tension in the neck and shoulder areas can eventually lead to more serious issues such as a pinched nerve, or bulging or herniated cervical discs of the spine. Are you suffering from “tech neck”? Let’s discuss how physical therapy can help!
Who is Vulnerable?
Up until fairly recently, the classic patient experiencing problems in the neck and shoulder area was a middle-aged office worker who spent the last couple of decades performing extensive computer work. Today, even young people are experiencing neck and shoulder issues due to heavy smart phone use, along with many hours spent behind a video game controller. Even adults who do not use computers as part of their duties at work, are becoming more vulnerable to neck and shoulder tension due to extensive use of computers, tablets and smart phones during their free time.
Why is Technology use Harmful?
The human body was designed for movement and it performs best when it is used for that purpose. Virtually all technology devices require one to keep their neck and shoulders in a stationary position. For short periods of time, this is generally not an issue. The problem in today’s society is that people overindulge in the use of these devices. An adult may spend their entire day at work sitting in front of a computer and then come home and then surf the web on their smart phone or tablet for the rest of the evening. Even young children may spend hours of their free time playing video games, interspersed with bursts of activity on their smart phone.
How can Physical Therapy Help?
Professional physical therapists can help tech neck sufferers by offering a personalized plan of stretching exercises designed to alleviate pain and muscle tension in key areas. A physical therapist will also provide muscle strengthening exercises since strong muscles can help support spinal structures, as well as improve posture. A physical therapist can also show patients how to set up their work environment in a way that will put less strain on their neck and shoulders. Lastly, they can advise patients on how to set limits on the use of technology devices both for themselves and their children.
If you have chronic neck and shoulder pain, we can help! Please contact us today to set up an appointment.