You may be quick to think of things like arthritis and cancer when someone mentions chronic pain. Both conditions are worthy of serious attention from pain management doctors. But less serious causes of pain deserve attention, too. For example, consider the condition known as “tech neck.”
Tech neck isn't yet an official term in medical dictionaries, but it is a real thing. Tech neck is a condition affecting the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck and shoulders. It is characterized by neck strain and general pain in the head, neck, and shoulders.
As you probably guessed, tech neck is caused by using too much technology, too often. It is the direct result of constantly looking downward at screens. Between cell phones and computers, far too many of us find ourselves looking downward for 8 to 10 hours per day, if not longer.
We have seen an up-tick in tech neck since the COVID pandemic. The same goes for other tech related maladies, like carpal tunnel syndrome. The good news is that pain management doctors are specialists capable of helping patients find relief.
If you are suffering from tech neck or any other technology related, pain-inducing malady, take heart in the fact that relief is possible. Here are three tips that could help you get the ball rolling toward feeling better:
We decided to put the most difficult tip first: reduce your technology time. The science behind this tip is pretty straightforward. If you avoid doing things that cause pain, your pain will likely decrease over time.
Unfortunately, many of us are tethered to our technology for work purposes. Still, look for ways you can do your work that require spending less time looking down. Raise your computer screen. Stand if you can. When you use your phone, lift it up in front of you.
Outside of work, make a concerted effort to use your phone less. Maybe commit to turning it off after dinner and leaving it off for the rest of the evening. Perhaps it's appropriate to set rules for the entire family. Whatever it takes to reduce your screen time is worth it in terms of pain reduction.
Your pain management physician can recommend some simple exercises for loosening tense muscles and strengthening the neck. They are easy enough that just about anyone can do them. Moreover, you can do them in the comfort of your own home or office.
Neck exercises are an important aspect in keeping your neck muscles in good shape. When you work to strengthen them, you are also strengthening tendons and ligaments. It all adds up to more support and less pain.
The third thing you can do to combat tech neck is pay a visit to your healthcare provider. Whether that's a doctor, a physician assistant, or a nurse practitioner, your provider can help you devise strategies for reducing pain.
As far as pain meds are concerned, we strongly recommend a plant-based approach. Prescription drugs are not always the best choice for treating chronic pain, as they can be harmful and potentially addicting. Plant-based medications are less risky.
Technology has a place in the modern world. We have no choice but to rely on it as part of our daily lives. But we don't have to let technology be in control. We do not have to let a condition like tech neck make us less comfortable. If you suffer from tech neck, try the three tips described in this post. If you pain continues, feel welcome to visit one of our pain management clinics. They should help you feel better.