"Tech Neck", “Text Neck”, “Poke Neck”: these are all nicknames that refer to the bad posture associated with kids and technology. More technically speaking, it refers to the changes in the spine associated with bad posture.
This occurs from all of those hours and hours our kids spend looking down at an iPhone, slumped at the computer screen or splayed along the couch playing PlayStation.
These activities and positions may not seem problematic at first, but overtime these postures can lead to back pain, neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain and even numbness into the arms and hands. If we address these aches, pains and discomforts early, we can prevent them from becoming a more significant problem.
Here are a few tips for not only the kids but also the adults included:
First and foremost, prevention is better than cure!Encourage your kids to get off the couch and be active. Join a local sports team or get out of the house for a walk. General consensus is 30 minutes of physical activity per day. If your child has a lot of homework to do, make sure they get up and take a 2-3 minute break for a stretch every 60 minutes. Setting an alarm on their phone can be helpful.
Homework setupOur kids need to study (a lot) right? It’s a competitive world out there. Instead of hunching over the laptop screen in bed or on the couch, we advise you to have them sitting at a desk. Ideally bring the screen to eye level. This can be difficult with a laptop so a separate keyboard may be appropriate. Ensure they sit in a chair that reclines them slightly and has a headrest which actually allows their necks to relax while working.
Variety in lifeBeing competitive in just one sport can take its toll on a fast-growing kid with the same musculoskeletal structures being stressed over and over again. Participating in more than one recreational activity will encourage their bodies to gain strength, stretch and grow in many different ways encouraging the development of a strong, robust musculoskeletal system.
Move the phone to your face rather than your head toward the phoneThe more we tilt our head forward toward our phones and laptops, the more strain it puts on our neck and back muscles. Try sitting up a little straighter and bring the phone up and closer to your face rather than leaning forward and tilting toward that tiny screen!
Remember, pain is a WARNING SIGN, listen to your body! Here at Thrive, Tech Neck is something we see all too often and is something that can be easily prevented with a few simple behavioural changes. If you think your child may be suffering from Tech Neck, one of our experienced therapists is here to help. Book an appointment today or call us on 2522 6972.