Technology comes at a price, and for your body, that could mean experiencing tech neck. Whether for work or play, our overdependence of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices has resulted in the rising prevalence of neck pain and new neck issues. Not surprisingly, a new term exists that pertains to the neck pain and problems that develop from excessive technology use – tech neck.
The Dangers of Too Much Tech for Your Neck
Using smartphones or any technology too much puts your neck at risk. Looking down at your phone or tablet requires the neck to be stuck in the same position repeatedly and for long hours. When you lean forward to look down, it increases the weight placed on the neck to hold the head up. If you’re looking down at your electronic device at a 45-degree angle, the load on your neck becomes heavier at approximately 50 pounds — much more pressure than what the neck is supposed to bear! Keeping your head and neck in this position over and over again can result in pain and injury to your neck sooner or later.
Neck pain may be the most apparent symptom of too much technology usage, but more conditions can develop in connection with tech neck:
- Wrist pain and carpal tunnel syndrome – Using your smartphones for extended periods can lead to wrist pain, numbness, and tingling. Moreover, the nerves of the neck extend through the shoulders, arms, and hands. Inflammation of the neck nerves can compound with carpal tunnel syndrome and other wrist problems.
- Upper back pain – As the neck supports a heavier load when tilting forward, the pressure that is put on the upper back intensifies at the same time.
- Lower back pain and sciatica – The rest of the spine shifts to compensate if you compromise your neck, have bad posture, and sit at work for extended periods. The lower back and sciatic nerve suffer too.
- Migraines or headaches – Neck pain or inflammation can also impact your blood flow, cerebrospinal fluid drainage, and overall healthy neurological function. When these happen, the development of headaches and migraines are very likely.
- Jaw pain and TMJ disorders – Your neck is near your jaw. As a result, neck alignment can impact the resting position of the jaw. When the head doesn’t balance properly over the neck, the TMJ experiences undue stress. This can cause jaw imbalance, pain, and dysfunction.
Explaining the Anatomy of the Neck and Spine
Our cervical spine (the part of the spine that is in the neck) has seven vertebrae. It begins beneath the base of the skull and ends in the thoracic spine (the mid-back). The cervical spine is strong as it supports the weight of the head which is around 12 pounds in adults. It is also very flexible and allows the head to move in different directions. Due to its flexibility, the neck can be vulnerable to injury. Repetitive movements, falls, wear and tear, long periods of sitting, and accidents that impact the head or neck can all result in chronic neck pain.
The upper cervical spine consists of many components that can be the source of neck pain:
- Discs – When the discs between the vertebrae bulge, wear thin, or herniate, degenerative disc disease may develop.
- Muscles – Overuse or injury can cause soreness of neck muscles.
- Facet joints – Just like the rest of your body joints, the joints in your neck can deteriorate due to injury or wear and tear.
- Ligaments – Injuries and accidents (e.g. sports accident, concussions, car accidents, etc.) can also damage the ligaments of the cervical spine.
- Spinal nerve roots – Disc degeneration, bone spurs, joint arthritis, or spinal misalignment can irritate spinal nerve roots.
The upper part of your neck where it connects with the skull is the critical spot when it comes to neck pain. The atlas (C1), the vertebra that supports the head and gives it freedom to move, is the most flexible and vulnerable one in the whole spine. It lacks protection and support as it has no disc above or below it. When the atlas misaligns, the rest of the neck will compensate to keep the head balanced in a neutral position.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic: The Natural Fix to Neck Pain
Upper cervical chiropractors specialize in correcting the atlas misalignment – the root cause of many tech neck and other neck issues. If you are looking for a chiropractor for neck pain in Escondido, CA, that offers an effective solution, Rickards Chiropractic is an excellent choice. Whether your neck pain developed from neck or any other conditions we mentioned above, our upper cervical chiropractic care uses a natural technique that we personalize for our patients of all ages.
We address the underlying cause of your neck pain through a meticulous, scientific approach. We take into consideration that your neck is already stiff and painful! Our upper cervical chiropractic care is painless and precise, devoid of any forceful neck adjustments. This results in adjustments that hold in place for as long as possible. Contact us to experience our unique approach and let us help you get rid of your neck pain.