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Tech Neck

man working at a desk with neck painTechnology can sometimes be viewed as a double-edged sword. I personally think its advantages significantly outweigh its downfalls. I grew up in a time when every household had a complete set of Britannica Encyclopedia. In today’s world if you have a question, just ask Siri.

Herein lies the problem. The portable technology devices we rely on so heavily like our cell phones or tablets, require us to put our cervical spine in a constant state of flexion. It’s virtually impossible for us to go to a restaurant, airport or even your chiropractor’s office and not see someone who’s slumped over their cell phone. We are all guilty!

Why is Tech Neck Such a Bad Thing?

If you stand directly in front of a mirror and have a good look at yourself, you should see a perfectly straight spine. If you take a side glance at yourself you should notice 3 slight but very important curves. Your neck and lower back should have a curve that looks like a backward C. Your middle back should curve opposite your neck and lower back. The curves in your neck and lower back are referred to as lordosis. The curvature in your middle back is referred to as kyphosis.

What’s With the Curves?

  • The spinal lordosis and kyphosis allow for optimal mobility of the vertebra that makes up the totality of your spine.
  • The lateral curvature of your spine position you in the best anatomical position to limit the wear and tear of the discs, that work so hard to protect your spine from damage. A spine with proper lateral curves is much stronger and more resilient than its counterpart. Ever wonder why the Romans built so many arched bridges?
  • If your posture is perpetually slumped forward your internal organs (lungs, digestive organs etc) become compressed. If these organs are compressed it becomes difficult for them to function as well as they were intended. Stand completely erect with your shoulder back and take a deep breath. Now, slouch forward and take a deep breath. Feel the difference?

The soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia) can be molded like a clay sculpture. These tissues assume the posture we put them in for prolonged periods of time. Sitting all day will result in tight hip flexors causing hip and lower back pain, “sitting is the new smoking.” Spending long hours at a desk starring at your computer will shorten the flexor muscles in the front of your neck. Short /tight neck flexors will straighten or even worse, reverse the curve of your neck, called “Tech Neck.”

illustration of a spineYour head weighs as much as a bowling ball. If that bowling ball is positioned directly over your shoulders your neck can easily support its weight. If your head cranes forward in front of your shoulders it puts a massive strain on your neck. When you put your neck in this position for prolonged periods of time on a regular basis, it’s only a matter of time before you end up with symptoms like:

  • Neck Pain Numbness or pain radiating down your arms
  • Shoulder pain/stiffness
  • Neck Stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Cervical disc problems
  • Arthritis
  • Dizziness
How many chiropractors does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: only 1 but it takes 30 visits

There is some truth to this cute joke, however, it’s not a reflection of the efficacy of chiropractic care. Health challenges like chronic pain, diabetes or weight gain are almost always a manifestation of an underlying lifestyle issue. If you don’t address the underlying cause of your health concern you will never fix the problem. Our goal at Life in Balance Wellness is to get to the root cause of what’s getting in the way of letting you being your best you.

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