Could today’s social media-driven, smartphone culture be putting our health at risk? It may be hard to believe that our beloved iPhones could do more harm than good, but if you find yourself guilty of taking more sick days, or having to take frequent breaks because your shoulders, back and head are screaming at you to stop, you’ve most likely experienced “Tech Neck,” a widespread condition the majority of the population unnecessarily lives with because of the strain these high tech toys force on shoulders, neck and back.
With the US Census Bureau stating that in 2008 Americans sent over 110 billion text messages (a number that will surely prove to have skyrocketed at the next count) and back pain accounting for more missed work days than any other complaint, costing Americans $60 billion per year in treatments and American businesses about $15 billion annually, Tech Neck is a real issue that needs real attention.
Many people are more than a little addicted to today’s high tech devices such as iPhones, iPads and other electronics that are designed to make life’s daily tasks less of a pain in the neck. The bad news is this addiction actually causes just that, by forcing heads down, hunched shoulders and wildly tapping fingers and thumbs. The good news is that since the pain is due to compromised posture and spinal misalignment, there are easy and inexpensive ways to prevent Tech Neck.
- Changing the level at which you operate is a small change that will make a big difference. When constantly focusing down, gravity pulls you. That pull creates unnecessary strain on your shoulders and body. Instead of holding the phone at hip level when replying to texts, try to bring the phone up to eye level. An added bonus: extra arm workouts!
Standing Up & Stretching
- Put the iPhone down and get up from the desk chair. Stretching during the day and doing something as simple as standing up and walking around can alleviate some of the stress put on the body during the course of the day.
Visit a board-certified chiropractor
- A trained chiropractor can assess the condition of the spine and administer safe, comfortable treatments that not only relieve existing pain, but that also better enable the body to self heal. That means fewer symptoms of Tech Neck, even when a hectic, full life requires one to remain “plugged in” around the clock.
Apple’s release of the new iPhone 5 this year ensures that Tech Neck is not going away. Although we have certainly not seen the end of its poor effects on posture and overall wellness, gaining awareness of the issue is an important step to winning the battle against Tech Neck.
Dr. Louis Peterson is a board-certified chiropractor with offices in Midtown Manhattan and in the Financial District. You can learn more or contact his office to schedule an appointment at www.PetersonChiropracticNY.com.