ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — You might have heard of something called “text neck” or “tech neck.” Doctors are seeing these more and more people stare down downward at technology tools throughout the day.
“Tech neck” is usually for people at a desk staring at a computer, while “text neck” is for many of us who stare at phones looking down. This is something doctors say has physical as well as cosmetic consequences.
Dr. Richard Westreich is a plastic surgeon based in New York City. He said “tech neck” is like the newest version of carpal tunnel syndrome.
“People sit in that position for hours and hours and hours on end, and it puts strain on the body,” he said.
Westreich said it can cause postural changes. He says to be mindful of the following:
“From the standpoint of the symptoms, if you’re developing neck pain, or headaches, or shoulder pain, or weakness or tingling in your fingers…” he said.
Westrich added there are also cosmetic consequences, like long lines or wrinkles along your neck, and developing a double chin.
Dr. Josh Rittenberg with East Ave. Chiropractic in Rochester said when he sees patients for “tech” or “text neck,” there’s an obvious postural shift or even a deformity.
“Usually it’s complaining of type of lower neck pain or mid-back discomfort,” he said.
When it comes to prevention, he said it starts with proper posture.
“I think people more and more are going to realize that bringing your head down to your device… the head is a lot heavier than your device is. So, bringing the device up to your head is going to make life quite a bit easier,” he said.
Stretching, even on the job, is critical.
“We need to create an environment that is not uncomfortable or make them nervous about stretching in public,” said Rittenberg, while demonstrating some basic neck and head movements.
Using mobile devices or having computers on your desk isn’t going to change any time soon; Rittenberg says to be aware of your posture.
“Anything you can do to facilitate not having your head and the weight of your head down for prolonged periods of time,” he said. Rittenberg also added raising your computer screen and standing at work can be beneficial in prevention.