We’ve addressed the issue of “Tech Neck” before, but it seems to be in the news more than ever. “Ellen” even addressed it in her own comical way last week during her monologue.
TECH NECK refers to pain in the neck, upper back and shoulders. Technology use impacts posture; it creates musculoskeletal disorders and affects their overall health. Sit-stand, mobile and collaborative, and lounge-style seating is more prevalent in the workplace due to the ease of using portable devices anywhere. Users are often are in extremely awkward postures and type with their head down for extended periods of time, which can become painful.
Many young people are entering the workforce with pre-existing pain from poor posture and extended daily use of technology; many have pre-existing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
Also work related MSDs are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time. Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) account For 33% of all worker injury and illness cases. Employees are spending many hours hunched over a phone, tablet or computer leading to some type of MSD causing chronic and acute pain interfering with work responsibilities.
CONSIDER THIS: A normal head weighs an average of 11 pounds. For every inch you flex your head, you add an extra 10 pounds.
Typically we flex our heads about 45 degrees when looking at our devices meaning we are then carrying around close to 50 pounds on our shoulders.
Over time it can cause excess strain on your upper spine. Tech neck left untreated can cause problems including headaches, pinched nerves, arthritis, bone spurs and muscular deformation, disc degeneration and nerve complications.
A quick way to see if you might be suffering from tech neck is to look at your profile sideways in a mirror. If your ears are not lined up with your shoulders, your posture may be promoting chronic pain.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT TECH NECK? IT’S NOT TOO LATE
- Start with good posture, move your screen directly in front of you, so that you’re not looking down all day. Don’t slouch and keep your head up while texting or scrolling on your phone.
- Do stretches including neck circles, neck side bends and slow-no’s (turn your head side to side like you’re saying “no”).
- Do shoulder shrugs (raise your shoulders toward your ears and then relax).
- Do trunk rotations
- Just get moving, our bodies were not meant to sit all day.
For more ergonomic tips or scheduling an ergonomic consultation, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Ergonomics — fitting a job to a person — helps lessen muscle fatigue, increases productivity and reduces the number and severity of work-related MSDs.