Really, it’s literally a pain in the neck: A study had already stated that neck pain is “a major public health concern.” In that study, they determined that at least 87 percent of children and adolescents suffer from musculoskeletal neck pain since the neck is constantly bent when using smartphones.
There’s even a term for the condition – it’s called tech neck (others, like the study, use text neck). It’s a common condition for people who have a sedentary desk job or those who always look at their phones. Aside from acute pain, people who suffer from the condition report that they lose sensation in some areas of their body. If this is left untreated, tech neck may escalate to degeneration of the region and possible surgical operations.
For the study, the research team selected 19 people to participate in the trials. The sample all complained of neck pain for over three months and rated at least three in the national pain rating system (or NPRS, a quantifiable measurement of pain). Prior to the trial, patients were measured to evaluate their pressure biofeedback, neck reposition sense, and the NPRS severity.
Participants then lay on their back and were taught neck stabilization exercises. The exercises had 10 repetitions per set and were done three times. The neck stabilization exercise program had a rest interval after each adjustment, during which they measured again for NPRS severity and biofeedback, among others.
After the trials, the research team discovered that stabilization exercises cut down problems (such as loss of sensation, among others) brought about by neck pain. The research team opines that stabilization exercises such as these should be incorporated in treatment for chronic neck pain. (Related: Got neck pain? New study says chiropractic care and simple home exercises work better than painkillers.)
Reducing the risk of “tech neck”
While smartphone use is one of the primary causes of tech neck, our work also plays a huge factor in neck pain. A study that appeared in the journal Spine listed the five occupation groups that have the highest risk of developing neck pain: These included the people from the military, television, research science, healthcare support, and repair.
If a big chunk of your day is spent looking at a screen or sitting – driving is included – then you could be at risk of developing tech neck. Still, here are some quick exercises that you can do to ease the build-up of tension in your neck and prevent tech neck.
- Neck stretch – This simple exercise only requires you and a chair. Sit on your hands (or hold onto the side of the chair) and sit up straight. Tilt your head to the side – like you’re trying to make your ear touch your shoulder – while pushing your shoulders down for a greater stretch. Hold for 10 seconds on each side, and repeat it three to five times throughout the day.
- Chest stretch – You can do this exercise either sitting down or standing up. If you’re sitting down, place your forearm on the desk, then turn your whole body and shoulders away from your hand (a swivel chair works best for this) until you feel a stretch across your chest. If you’re standing up, place your hand against a wall at a position that’s just below your shoulder’s height and stretch. Hold for 10 to 15 for each side. Posture is key – keep your back straight while you’re doing the stretches.
- Deep neck muscle strengthener – Don’t let the name intimidate you, it’s a relatively easy exercise that you can do at the comfort of your desk. Sit up straight, with your back parallel to the back of the chair. Nod your head, keeping your back straight, until your chin is pointing to your throat (you’ll feel like you’re making a double chin), then take a deep breath. This stretches your neck, as well as your shoulders.
To learn more ways to prevent tech neck, go to Naturopathy.news today.