”Tech neck’’ a term used to describe neck discomfort associated with technology use, is becoming more prominent. We have really seen the effect of this is this year, likely due to the emergence of laptops as our weapon of choice for remote working. Laptops and smartphones blur the line between home and work.
Tech neck seems to be on the general increase. The longer duration you tilt your head for, the higher the risk of experiencing some ‘’tech neck’’
RISK FACTORS FOR TECH NECK
It is not abnormal for clients to tell us that they spend over five hours a day on mobile devices – for some, it is more! It is not the phone that is the problem, but the posture we tend to assume when using a mobile device. The forward head tilt position, to be precise.
If you work on a laptop without any external equipment, your risk of developing neck discomfort is higher. Everybody tilts their head, but keeping it tilted for sustained periods is the issue here.
We are starting to notice, that as children have started using smartphones and tablets at younger ages, tech neck is starting to develop earlier in people’s lives.
At first, you might experience fatigue or stiffness as your neck muscles work hard to hold your head as it is tilted forward and /or down. If left unmanaged, this can turn into pain or even regular headaches. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it is likely to affect your ability to concentrate.
Looking down while using visual devices is something which many of us will not even realise, we are doing. In some cases, depending on what we are doing, we don’t even quite notice the pain when it initially starts!
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT TECH NECK?
Most people feel as though they cannot stop using their laptops or mobile devices. Particularly when they are reliant on these for work. The easiest strategy to prevent tech neck is to reduce and break up the time you spend on your devices. Put the phone down every fifteen or twenty minutes and change your tasks up if it is in a work setting.
Whenever possible, keep your elbow by your body and lift the device to eye level. Rather than dropping the head down to meet the screen. A lot of people also sit with their shoulders rounded, this can lead to tight muscles at the neck and front of the chest. Daily stretching of the muscles around your shoulders and neck is important.
When it comes to the potential effect of tech neck and the younger generation. If you are a parent, limit the amount of time your kids spend with smartphones and tablets. When it comes to the working population. If you are an employer, give your employees breaks and encourage them to stretch. It will boost their performance!
Lastly, never walk while looking down at your phone!
ERGONOMICS SUPPORT FOR YOUR COMPANY
Fit For Work provide a range of ergonomics services that are suitable for those working from home/remotely or those who are office-based. To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at email@example.com to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave.