Image source: videoblocks.com
Burning type feeling inside shoulder blade? Stiff neck? Neck pain? Sore shoulders? Headaches? They are all symptoms of Tech Neck pain.
Often a massage will make it feel better immediately but then within a few hours the familiar, annoying feeling is back again.
People have been looking down to read for many years….
So what has changed to make Tech Neck pain one of the most common pains we treat in the Active Solutions Physiotherapy Clinic?
The time we spend on our phones!
Social media, e mails, diaries, TV streaming, work schedules etc.
It is estimated a lot of the population spend 5 hours a day on the phone, or about a third of our waking hours looking down at the phone. Our life is so entwined with technology, 80% of people check the phone before they brush their teeth in the morning!!!
Reasons for the Shoulder and Neck Pain
Muscle trigger points
The muscles at the back of the neck and shoulders contract and hold the head as it leans forward. Five hours a day of this activity will understandably make muscles tired, with sensitive trigger points.
Trigger points develop in the neck and shoulder muscles with a forward bend posture.
Nerves are designed to conduct electrical signals from your brain, they hate being stretched.
Forward bending (cervical flexion) is very provocative for nerves and will stretch them into an elongated direction. This will irritate the neural system and can cause neck and shoulder blade pain.
Neutral neck posture
Sustained forward bending posture will irritate the neural system
The spine is strong and is made to move. However, holding the head in a forward bend posture for a sustained period of time is heavy work which sensitises the joints and discs in the spine.
Holding the head forward over time is very heavy work.
In life you need to use your phone for so many different reasons. What can you do to reduce Tech Neck pain?
Neck pain associated with Tech Neck is from sustained forward bending in the neck to read your phone or other device. The simplest solution is to minimise how much time you look DOWN to your screen.
Read e mails, documents and non-urgent information at a computer screen – preferably a standing desk.
Hold the phone up to your face rather than bending down to look at it.
You also need to examine and change your forward bending postures in other aspects of your life.
Consider your kids’ habits posture.
Do you hunch over to cook?
Do you watch TV in bed?
Does your exercise have a bias into flexion?
With the use of smart phones for work, play and communication, it is very common to spend a significant time of your day looking down at a small screen. This sustained forward bending posture can result in pain caused by your muscles, nerves, joints and/or discs in the neck and shoulders. Physiotherapy treats the painful structures but to keep the pain from coming back you must change your phone use and examine your posture during other activities in daily life.
We highly recommend you read our blog on Headaches, pain into your shoulder? It could be how you sit.