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Tips to Reduce Tech Neck Pain

Tips to Reduce Tech Neck Pain

How often do you see your child hunched over their device, sporting poor posture and slouched shoulders with their head tilted forward? “Tech neck” symptoms are easy to spot on teens and kids, but adults are oftentimes just as bad. If you work on a computer all day, then spend time on your phone away from your desk, your posture is likely to be just as affected as your child’s.

As a parent today, I understand how much things have changed since I was a kid. I know, parents say that all the time, but it’s true. My childhood was spent outdoors, riding my bike and playing with friends. The technology in my house consisted of one TV that got four channels (which you had to get up to switch). The phone was something connected to the wall that had only one purpose, and that was to make calls – crazy, I know.

Today, a lot of kids have their own iPads at school, then many come home and ask to play games on their phones or tablets. According to Common Sense Media, the amount of time that kids spend on mobile devices each day is 10 times higher than it was eight years ago. Tech neck is wreaking havoc on their bodies, causing not only neck pain, but headaches, tingling, and eyesight issues.

Tips to Reduce Tech Neck PainWhat is tech neck?

Tech neck, also referred to as text neck, is when the shape of your spine changes due to bad posture, caused from spending hours looking down at a device, or slumped forward on a computer. Tech neck is easy to spot, simply look at a person from the side. Does their head tilt forward? Is there a lump at the base of their neck? Do their shoulders round forward? These are just a few telltale signs.

What are the symptoms of tech neck?
When you tilt your head forward just 45 degrees, your neck muscles are doing the work of lifting approximately 50 pounds. Headaches, neck pain or spasms, and shoulder pain are the most common complaints. Oftentimes people also have a hard time focusing or looking up after they’ve been looking down for a long time. In some cases a pinched nerve in your neck could cause feelings of numbness, tingling, neck pain, or weakness in your arms.

In severe cases, the muscles work so hard to hold your forward bending head up, they tighten, then put more pressure on the discs. This process makes the discs wear out faster, leading to a potential bulge or disc rupture. When a ruptured disc pinches a nerve it can cause severe pain, weakness, or numbness in the arm.

Tips to Reduce Tech Neck Pain

Tips to avoid tech neck pain

  • Practice Good Posture – Hunching over a computer all day or playing video games for hours on end almost guarantees a slouching posture, which is a major cause of tech neck pain and back pain. Trying to overcome bad posture might bring you back to your adolescent days when your mother always told you to sit up straight. We needed a reminder back then and we still need one today. Kids might respond to a quick sticky note that’s placed somewhere visible. A reminder for you might be a lumbar roll between your lower back and office chair.
  • Keep Devices at Eye Level – Tech neck pain is caused when you place your head at a forward position to look down at your device. Teach your child to hold their tablet or phone up so they’re looking straight at it at eye level – this will help reduce the pressure placed on the neck. Also, a monitor stand for your computer will help reduce neck pain. If you want to take things a step further, consider a standing desk, which has other health benefits due to the reduced amount of time sitting.
  • Limit Screen Time – Especially when it comes to kids, limit screen time and help them find a balance between the virtual and real world. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests no more than 2 hours per day of screen time for children over the age of 2. Kids needs to be active throughout the day.
  • Stretch – This is a quick and easy solution that you can use all day long. See our tips for stretching while at your desk. You should also get up and walk around once every hour that you’re at your desk. Encourage the same of your children if they’re spending extra time at the computer doing homework.

If your student (or you) are experiencing back, shoulder pain, or neck pain that you think may be associated with tech neck, schedule a free consultation with a physical therapist. You’ll have an opportunity to discuss what you’re experiencing and based on your symptoms we can recommend the next steps to alleviate your pain.

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Tips to Reduce Tech Neck Pain

4 Simple Desk Stretches for the Entire Body

4 Simple Desk Stretches for the Entire Body

Do you spend a majority of your work days sitting in a chair? Many of us do, and while we know that sometimes we get back aches or sore muscles from sitting all day, we can’t always do much about it. Or can we? Read on to see our four simple desk stretches for your entire body.

Prolonged sitting can shorten your hamstrings and hip flexors, contribute to neck and low back pain, and even diminish core strength. Without frequent standing and walking breaks, we subject ourselves to a variety of postural changes and medical issues.

We’ve talked before about the negative effects that sitting can have on your body. Today we’re expanding on that and showing you four easy desk stretches to keep the body moving and feeling good throughout the day.

Here are a few tips and desk stretches for office workers

Proper Sitting Ergonomics
Your ankles should be in neutral with feet flat on the floor, knees bent at 90 degrees, hips bent at 90 degrees, trunk in neutral, shoulders in neutral, elbows bent at 90 degrees resting on armrests, wrists in neutral with keyboard directly underneath the hands, and monitor at eye level so your neck remains neutral and relaxed.

Breaks
It’s recommended to take 5-10 minutes every hour to get up, stretch, and move your body.

As always, if these exercises increase your pain at all, or if they don’t improve your symptoms after a few days, you will probably benefit from a free evaluation with a physical therapist. You can request an appointment here and we’ll reach out to you to schedule.

Office Workers Guide to Stretching & Ergonomics

Video Recap with Desk Stretches
– Seated Hamstring Stretch :: To stretch legs and hamstrings
– Seated Thoracic Rotation Stretch :: To stretch mid section, spine, trunk, and core
– Upper Trapezius Stretch :: Loosen neck and shoulders
– Levator Scapulae Stretch :: Relieve and prevent neck pain

See our other workplace stretches here.

4 Simple Desk Stretches for the Entire Body

WorkFit Services For Every Industry
Our WorkFit team consults with businesses in the manufacturing, office, and manual labor setting. We offer the following services:
– Corporate Wellness :: Designed to lower employee healthcare costs and reduce sick days. Research has shown that corporate wellness ROI can average $2.71 for every $1 spent. That’s a great return on your investment.
– Functional Capacity Evaluation :: Benefiting employers and employees by assessing a person’s ability to perform their work-related activities, before or after an injury
– Rehabilitative Services :: Safely and smoothly returning to work after an injury
– Worksite Injury Prevention :: Repetitive stress injuries are the largest category of worker injuries, and they’re also the most preventable. We’ll show you how.

One Happy Ergonomic Client
“It’s been a rewarding experience partnering with Northern over the past several years. We initially started working with them to perform ergonomic assessments for employees in both the factory and office setting with great success but, we’re now expanding this program to promote overall good health. The NPT associates understand the mechanics of not only allowing the employee to function properly at work, but to take that knowledge and apply it to their home life and family members. It’s a win-win situation for us at BISSELL.” – Dave G., Manager – Safety & Security, BISSELL

 

Learn more about our WorkFit services and request a team training session, or schedule a free consultation with a physical therapist.

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4 Simple Desk Stretches for the Entire Body

5 Tips To Avoid Pain After Shoveling

5 Tips To Avoid Pain After Shoveling

Anyone who’s from Michigan can relate – you wake up in the morning and look out the window expecting to see green grass but instead you’re greeted with 6 inches of snow. It looks pretty from inside, the first snow of the season always does. Then you realize you’ve got an entire driveway to shovel before heading off for work. Ugh…is it spring yet?

Oftentimes we don’t realize the effort that it takes to push snow. We’re focused on getting it out of the way but the next day the pain and soreness kicks in. Snow shoveling is a repetitive activity that can cause muscle strain, especially to the lower back and shoulders. We’ve put together some tips and stretches to help you avoid pain after shoveling.

Tips to avoid injury and pain after shoveling

  • Lift smaller loads of snow.
  • Bend your knees, keep your back straight, and lift with your legs rather than your back.
  • Use a shovel with a shaft that lets you keep your back straight while lifting. A short shaft will cause you to bend more to lift the load. Using a shovel that’s too long makes the weight at the end heavier.
  • Step in the direction in which you are throwing the snow to prevent the low back from twisting, as excessive twisting puts pressure on the spine.
  • Take frequent breaks, stand up straight and walk around periodically to extend the lower back.

Stretches and exercises to avoid pain after shoveling

Getting ready to head out and tackle the sidewalks? Here are a few stretches and exercises you can do to avoid pain after shoveling.

5 Tips To Avoid Pain After Shoveling

Physical Therapist, Julie Blodgett, shows Frosty the proper way to stretch your low back to avoid pain after shoveling.

● Low back: Stand up straight, place your hands toward the back of your hips, and bend backwards slightly for several seconds.

● Hamstrings: While holding onto something for support, straighten your leg out and place your heel up on a chair, tighten your thigh, and pull your toes towards your body. Feel the stretch in the back of your leg. There’s no need to bend forward and it’s better if you don’t. Just stand up tall and keep both legs active. Hold for 10 breaths and repeat on the other side.

● Quads: Holding onto something for support, stand up straight and bend one leg, grabbing your foot up near your buttocks. You should feel this stretch in the front of the thigh of the bent leg as you hold for 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Core: While standing, imagine pulling your belly button in towards your spine and engage your abdominal muscles without letting your pelvis tuck under. Hold for 5-10 seconds while breathing normally and repeat a few times. This exercise uses the innermost layer of abdominal and back muscles.

● Mindfulness: As you’re shoveling, focus on the rotating movements happening in your hip joints. Place your finger on the front of your hip joints (located at the top of each thigh near the groin) and practice a few sways side to side, simulating raking. Avoid letting the rotation happen at your waist—this will cause unnecessary movement around your lumbar spine.

 

If you’re experiencing pain after shoveling snow or you have complaints of back pain, neck pain, or shoulder pain, schedule a free consultation with one of our physical therapists. We can work together on a few stretches and exercises specifically for the areas where you feel pain.

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5 Tips To Avoid Pain After Shoveling

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