Compared to just 40 years ago, the number of hours spent stooped over a computer, laptop, mobile device or smartphone in the average person’s day is astronomical. In 1980, none of these devices existed for the typical consumer. A few scientists and research graduate students might have had an early start, but when the first day of the 1980s occurred, we were still dealing with the Iran Hostage Crisis, reading the news on a newspaper, jotting down notes or messages on paper, and generally living a life looking forward and up. Today, Dr. Scott Zack Michigan resident, references that the average person with multiple devices spends as much as 1,400 hours annually bent over reading digital letters and words or watching video.
Why Tech & Your Spine Don’t Mix
The body’s spine stretches from the back of the cranium to the rear part of one’s posterior, i.e. the tailbone. This entire assembly is constructed of vertebrae, individual bones, that work together like a chain protecting the nervous system that runs through them as well as providing stability for the rest of the body. Dr. Scott Zack reminds readers the spine is essentially the reason why we are able to stand up on two legs and hold up our body and head from falling over.
Normally, the spine is designed to work best in a straight up and down fashion. It is curved, which allows for shock absorption, but the position of the body that is most natural for the spine is one where the back is straight and vertical or laying completely horizontal. Dr. Scott Zack agrees the spine does allow for the body to bend over, twist, pick up weight and more, but it’s not supposed to be bent over on a permanent or ongoing basis.
Dr. Scott Zack points out consumer technology involves heavy reading and focus on devices that generally sit lower than our heads and normal line of vision. As a result, we bend over, usually at the neck. However, the cranium weighs an average 11-13 lbs, which creates a gravity straight on the upper back. For a few minutes, even an hour, this is doable without any side effects. However, being bent over hour after hour daily begins to have an effect on the body, creating chronic cramping of the muscles in the upper back and straining the spine per Dr. Scott Zack. In serious conditions this creates serious pain and stiffness and eventually chronic “tech neck,” that chiropractors like Scott Zack from Michigan, focus on helping.
Solving Tech Neck Properly
Dr. Scott Zack, Michigan resident recommends that the first big step to take is to stop slouching and bending over the phone and a computer for hours on end. This habit just continues the damage and pain. Secondly, the affected person needs to start making a point of sitting up straight and looking at devices head on versus stooped over. Both changes will alleviate the body’s strain and allow healing to take over. In more serious cases, chiropractic help is needed. This involves re-alignment of the neck and back, medical message to break up spasm and bunched muscle points, and possibly traction to take weight off the neck and spine, so it can increase blood flow and healing. Once the recovery has begun, Dr. Scott Zack points out it’s important to continue to keep work and positioning on track to avoid tech neck from kicking in again. Believe it or not, sticking to the plan can be the harder part than the initial treatments, but it is doable if one makes a conscious effort to stay disciplined.
Dr. Scott Zack notes patients will over time realize less neck pain, less shoulder pain, disappearance of back pain and more mobility in the neck without stiffness. However, it is key to work with a chiropractor certified in spine specialty treatment.