In Depth: Tech Neck - KMSP-TV

In Depth: Tech Neck


Our cravings for cool, handheld devices is setting up an entire generation for something called "tech neck."

Carrie Langer is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Kinetic Physical Therapy Institute in Woodbury. She says a growing number of her patients complain of neck problems connected to using their electronic devices -- including cell phones, tablets and lap tops.

"They come in and they can't spend more than ten minutes on their computer or iPad," Langer said. "They can't sleep because their neck is bothering them at night."

Langer pointed out how people look at their devices, particularly those who bend their heads while reading or surfing.

"They might complain about pain (in the neck). said Langer. "They also complain about headaches related to muscle tension developing in the neck."

The No. 1 thing Langer recommends to help combat tech neck: Stop looking down with your head because it strains muscles.

Instead, Langer advises keeping your chin up, your head centered over the shoulders. She also says you should bring your device up closer to your line of vision.

If you don't change the bad habit and don't do anything to relieve the tension on those neck muscles, over time you could be in for more serious effects. Long term, you could see changes in your cervical spine and those joints.

It also helps to take breaks. Put the device down, look around the room for 30 seconds and stretch about every 15 minutes, taking a deep breath.

"The body needs movement. You need that circulation. Your muscles need to feel movement to stay healthy," said Langer.

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