Ways to Avoid and Treat 'Tech Neck'

DICKSON CITY, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - Using your smart phone, computer and other electronic devices can give you a real pain in the neck. The condition is called 'tech neck' and should be taken seriously. Studies show many of us are on our electronic devices one to three hours a day hunching over to type, text and tweet. That neck strain can lead to other problems that may have you seeking treatment.
 
"I have my iPhone that I'm always on," said Megan Callahan. Like many of us, she can't seem to separate herself from her smartphone. Sometimes, it's such a pain. "I actually sometimes get headaches if I find myself on my computer or looking at my phone for extended periods of time."
 
Studies show the average 60 degree downward neck tilt when using a smartphone or other electronic devices is equal to a 60 pound pull on your head triggering what's called 'Tech Neck'. Geisinger Physical Therapist Lori Schoenberg said, "The muscles begin to get stretched but what that can lead to is compression of your discs. It's decreasing your neck's curve. So in the long run it can cause a lot more problems."
 
Problems include wear and tear, degeneration and possibly even surgery. Ms. Schoenberg who is clinic manager at Geisinger-Viewmont Physical Therapy in Dickson City said when it comes to your tech habits, it's essential to stop the 'Tech Neck' strain. "You really want to be eye level. You want to make sure that your head doesn't have to come down. And just cutting down your usage."
 
Besides limiting your time with your smartphone and holding the phone in the proper position there are exercises and techniques you can do to relieve the pain. Ms. Schoenberg says it starts with proper posture. "You want to bring your neck backwards. Now that's going to put the curve in the spine back. It's also going to take all the pressure off those muscles that have been strained."
 
Tilting your head to the side can also help. "You're going to bring your ear to one of your shoulders and give it a little bit of a pull," Ms. Schoenberg said before giving her final recommendation: tilting your head backwards to find relief. "That's the exact opposite of what they're doing when they're sitting forward." If your Tech Neck symptoms persist, experts recommend seeing a physical therapist or your doctor.
 
'Tech Neck' is also a major concern for kids especially during the growth spurt years. Experts recommend teaching your children the importance of keeping devices eye-level and taking a time-out every so often. 

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