“Tech Neck”: The new medical term you need to know about

A new medical buzz word has been gaining ground over the past year, and if you own a smart phone, this is something that will likely affect you.

“Tech Neck” is a new term that has been given to the chronic pain caused by overuse of technology – smart phones, tablets, laptops, eReaders, etc. But just how serious is this problem?

Chiropractor and posture expert, Dr. Steven Weiniger explains that this new issue has far-reaching consequences, and we’re only just seeing the beginning.
“This is brand new turf – problems that the middle schoolers are facing now are only going to get worse over the next 10 years. And we have not run through a full generation of children born into the ‘smart phone era,’ circa 2007 with the release of the iPhone, to see the fully realized effects of this epidemic.”

It’s obvious that people are spending more time in front of phones. However, a recent Baylor University survey shows that our tech addiction may be greater than we realize. Their results found that college students often spend up to 8 to 10 hours a day on their phones.

Dr. Weiniger says with regards to these findings, “That’s a huge portion of the day sitting with your head bent forward, training your body to be old well before it should!”

The problems seen with “Tech Neck” syndrome affect anyone who uses technology for a prolonged period of time, but the most at-risk group is young adults. Medical issues such as neck pain, headaches, shoulder tension, limb numbness and tingling, and even dental and jaw problems are commonly associated with frequent smart phone use, and the number of adolescents and teens presenting with these symptoms is increasing dramatically, according to Weiniger.

In addition to the physical strain on young posture, a concerning byproduct of tech addiction is its effect on emotional posture.

“It is unsettling to see. When people spend more time on devices, they’re less able to interact with people, they can’t read people emotionally as well…people who spend a lot of time on phones don’t pick up on these things that people learn from interacting with other people,” Weiniger says.

But if you think telling your teen to stop using the phone is a good idea, Weiniger warns that “it is probably not going to be a popular, winning battle.” He advises that appealing to ego is the best way to get through to them.

“Take a candid picture while they’re using their phones. A kid doesn’t care about his health – he cares about how he looks. If you tell a teen he looks like an old person – that’s scary!”