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5 Reasons Why WFH Employees Suffer From Tech Neck

  • Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri
  • 3 Min Read
  • Fact Checked

You ever think your body feels older than you actually are? Young men and women had already been extremely dependent on technology before the COVID 19 pandemic hit. But, since the world went on lockdown in 2020, all of us were forced to not only stay indoors, but also work from home. While it was fun to start with for some, many of us started to spend more time on our smartphones, laptops, tabs, you name it. Our dependence on technology increased mainly because of boredom yes, but our jobs too called for countless hours on these devices. Work from home employees have started (much more significantly) complaining about neck and back pain. In this article we’ll dive into 5 reasons why we suffer from ‘tech neck’ and how we can try to rectify the painful symptoms.

What is Tech Neck?

This is not a new concern, many individuals have experienced strain and injury to the muscles around their neck and back from various desk jobs. Those whose work depends on screen time, experience tech neck a lot more. By definition, it’s neck pain that is caused by injury or strain to tissues located around your cervical spine. 

When it first starts to present symptoms, most individuals are only minorly inconvenienced, but it’s important to understand that as the strain continues to build, there are serious complications to be aware of. These include painful conditions such as disk hernia and nerve compression. Not to mention, your posture can be severely affected.

Prolonged strain on your muscles in the neck, and upper back can overburden a few muscles and in a few other muscles, lead to stiffness from lack of movement and usage. Posture can be hard to maintain with the pain that tech neck can cause and so decreased mobility of the upper back, neck, shoulders and at times arms can be limited.

Symptoms of Tech Neck

  • Discomfort in the lower neck area, the shoulders and the upper back 
  • Sharp pain behind or the side of the neck and when moving neck up/down/side
  • Decreased neck mobility due to pain and stiffness in the neck, back or shoulders
  • Increased incidences of headaches
  • Numbness/shock sensation in upper arm or hands nerve impingement

Causes of Tech Neck

As the name suggests (‘tech’), tech neck is caused when we bend our neck forward to look at the tech device. This does three things that causes the symptoms of Tech Neck
(1) Increased strain on your spine
(2) Increased tension in a group upper back muscles causing pain
(3) Increased pressure and strain on neck and shoulders

When one bends the neck forward to look at the screen even by 15 degrees it increases the weight of the head part by more than 10 kgs which causes additional strain to the neck muscles.

5 Reasons Why WFH Employees Suffer From Tech Neck

(1) Bad sitting posture
(2) Improperly placed screens (lower than eye level)
(3) Lack of indulging in muscles strengthening exercises and stretches
(4) Ignoring and not treating early tech neck signs and symptoms
(5) Prolonged durations of sitting in one position
(6) Vitamin D and Calcium deficiency

Tech Neck treatment and prevention

(1) Keep your devices (phone, laptop etc) at eye level. That way the head does not have to be tilted downward for prolonged periods of time.
(2) Limit your time on your devices
(3) Stretch it out: sometimes we can’t help our jobs, but take some breaks and straighten your back, shoulders and neck. Simple exercises  can be done at the comfort of the desk.
(4) Sit with good posture: body straight, shoulders pulled back

If you have nagging and unbearable neck, shoulder, upper back or upper arm pain that seems to not subside, numbness or tingling sensation in the arms, consult an orthopedic specialist asap. Especially if these symptoms are accompanied by fever, arm numbness or tingling, and weight loss. There could be an underlying medical condition at play – professionally can rule those out and then treat your symptoms appropriately. 

special test for back pain

Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri, MBBS with 5+ yrs of experience working as a Primary care Physician on MFine. She initially worked with corporate hospitals and then as a resident in JIPMER for 2 years. She believes in a holistic approach to health care. She is also a public speaker, a blog writer and holds an interest in spreading awareness on health through digital media.

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