How to Prevent Tech Neck in 5 Easy Steps

Do you have Tech Neck? If you spend hours each day with your head flexed and forward looking at a mobile device or laptop screen, then the chances are good that you do.

The name might sound funny, but the potential consequences are not. If left untreated, Tech Neck can damage your cervical spine. It can cause muscle strain, disk injuries, arthritic changes to the neck, and nerve impingement. It’s also a culprit in chronic neck, shoulder, and arm pain.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to prevent Tech Neck and avoid future pain arising from it. Here are five things you can do starting now to protect your neck.

#1: Take Time Away From Devices

If you have a job that requires you to spend a lot of time using a mobile device or laptop, give yourself a break every 15 or 20 minutes. Standing up and walking around for a few minutes (and thus changing the position of your head and neck) will give your spine a chance to adjust and minimize the chances that you’ll end up with Tech Neck.

#2: Use Technology to Your Advantage

What if you’re the type of person who gets immersed in work and forgets to take a break? Instead of ignoring your need for rest, try using technology to your advantage by setting an alert or alarm to remind you to take your break. You can use your cell phone’s built-in alarm clock for this purpose. Some of the new digital watches have reminder functions as well.

#3: Elevate Your Device to the Level of Your Eyes

Most people who have Tech Neck get it because they lower their heads and tilt them forward to look at their devices. One of the best ways to give your neck a break is to invest in a stand or holder that will keep your device at the level of your eyes. For example, you might buy a stand for your tablet or phone. If you use a laptop that you keep in your lap (or if you have a low desk) try elevating so it’s as close to level with your eyes as possible.

#4: Choose a Good Chair

What chair are you sitting in when you look at your device? For some people, a cheap chair can contribute to the problem. Try getting a comfortable chair with a neck rest. The neck rest can serve as a simple reminder of what your head’s position should be. If it’s touching the back of your neck, then you know that your posture is good. It may take a bit of practice at first, but over time, the right chair can help to improve your posture and protect your neck.

#5: Listen to Your Pain

Ultimately, any pain you experience is your body trying to tell you something. When you ignore neck and shoulder pain, you run the risk of doing permanent damage to your neck. If you notice pain in your neck, shoulders, and arms, it’s a signal that you’ve got to do something to alleviate it. Try changing your position or taking a break from your device.

Conclusion

The five steps we’ve outlined here can help to reduce the chances that you’ll develop Tech Neck. However, if you implement what we’ve taught you here and still experience neck, shoulder, and arm pain, you should make an appointment with a qualified health professional to help you address it and prevent further damage.

Chiropractic Care and the Opioid Epidemic: A Conservative Approach to Care

It’s impossible to watch the news without seeing some reference to the opioid epidemic. It’s a health and addiction crisis that has become a major problem. The primary culprit in the epidemic is a failure by the medical community to recognize the highly addictive nature of opioids and the harm they could do if prescribed too often.

How Big a Problem Are Opioids?

What does it mean when people refer to opioid addiction as a crisis? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), up to 25% of people who are prescribed opioids for pain struggle with addiction to their medication.

The CDC’s data also shows that deaths from opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999. In 2014 alone, more than 14,000 people died of opioid overdoses. Even more alarming is the number of people who abuse opioids, which the CDC estimates at two million.

Is Addiction the Only Risk with Opioids?

Reading these numbers, you might think that addiction is the biggest risk associated with use of opioid drugs. However, that’s not true – there’s another risk that should concern both doctors and patients.
Opioid drug use may trick patients with chronic pain into thinking that their condition is not serious – or that things are improving even when they aren’t. The false sense of confidence engendered by the drugs may lead patients to take risks that can lead to further damage.

The Value of a Non-Drug Approach to Pain

One reason that the opioid epidemic has reached the level of a national health crisis is that, for some doctors, prescribing pain medication was seen as the first line of defense against pain. Thanks to the issue with opioids, there’s a new respect for a non-drug approach to pain management.
As of 2017, the American College of Physicians changed its guidelines for the treatment of both chronic and acute low back pain to recommend non-invasive, non-drug therapies be used before pain medication. If those therapies don’t work, they recommend anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and muscle relaxants be tried before opioids.

The CDC has followed suit, creating a new set of standards for prescribing opioids and recommending non-drug therapies be tried first.

The Benefits of Conservative Care

Another way of looking at these changes in the way opioid drugs are prescribed is to say that the medical community at large is finally catching up to what chiropractors have known all along. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) asks both patients and providers to exhaust all conservative forms of pain management before considering opioid drugs.

The ACA’s policy statement regarding opioids, adopted in 2016, supports:

  • The investigation and use of non-pharmacologic interventions for pain in every healthcare setting and patient population.
  • The promotion of evidence-based non-pharmacologic pain therapies for pain management, within best practice models designed to protect patients.
  • Improved access to providers of non-pharmacologic therapies for all patients.
  • A system of interprofessional training to improve the efficacy and efficiency of pain management teams.
  • Public health campaigns to increase awareness of drug-free treatment options for chronic and acute pain.

These five statements are intended to educate both patients and providers about alternatives to opioid prescriptions for pain management.

Reaves Chiropractic