Headaches are a common but very frustrating pain syndrome which may present much differently from one person to another.
In today’s tech-heavy world, it is common for people to spend multiple hours per day staring at a screen. Between cell phones, tablets, computers, and other common devices, it seems unrealistic to think that we can eliminate these devices from our daily life. Because of this, we must understand the toll these devices may be taking on our bodies. One term has been making headlines recently: “tech neck.”
Tech neck is not an official medical diagnosis but it is becoming increasingly common, particularly in our younger population. People are developing neck pain at much younger ages than they used to, leading many experts to point toward the prevalence of hand-held devices. Clinicians evaluating tech neck may conclude that the patient is suffering from a repetitive stress injury, caused by the frequent forward flexion of the neck when texting or using a hand-held device. A thorough history and physical exam are typically enough to be able to diagnose tech neck, while more extreme cases may warrant further diagnostic imaging studies.
Common symptoms of tech neck may include pain in the neck and upper back, forward head posture and rounded shoulders, reduced neck mobility, frequent headaches, and reproduced pain with flexion of the neck. Because the typical texting position is unnatural to your spine, the muscles of the neck and shoulders may spasm trying to stabilize and support the head as you look down. These symptoms may worsen to involve pain or tingling radiating down the arms (aka. cervical radiculopathy), balance issues, or jaw pain. While most neck pain is due to muscle strain, it is important to remember that neck pain can also be caused by nerve root compression, fracture, or other underlying medical issue. For this reason, it is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor for accurate diagnosis and treatment. The treatment for tech neck typically includes exercises and stretching to promote strength and flexibility of the spine’s supporting structures, as well as promote healthy postural habits. Patients should focus on standing up straight, raising their phone or device, taking frequent breaks, arch and stretch backward to counteract the forward flexion, and exercise regularly.
Our providers at Remedy Pain Solutions are trained to evaluate for tech neck and many other acute and chronic pain syndromes. We focus our treatment on correcting the underlying issue, rather than masking the symptoms so that the problem can worsen. If you are suffering from neck pain and are concerned that your symptoms persistent or seem to be worsening, schedule a consultation with our experts at Remedy Pain Solutions to see how we may help get you back to pain-free living.
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