Technology is great–except when it’s a pain in the neck. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20% of us have experienced neck pain within the past three months, and much of the pain is caused by looking at our smartphones and laptops all day.
AÂ stiff neckÂ is generally caused by muscles weakened over time from poor posture or misuse.
Looking at your computer monitor all day can cause the muscles around the neck joints to become overstretched and tire.Â You get this same effect from driving for long periods of time or holding your head down to look at yourÂ smartphone. This daily wear and tear adds up and can displace your neckÂ joints.
Here’s how to keep text neck at bay:
Stretching exercises can relieve a stiff neck. Roll your shoulders backwardÂ and down 10 times. Squeeze your shoulder blades together 10 times. Push your head backwardÂ into your hands or your car headrest and hold for 30 seconds. Bring your ear to your shoulder 10 times on each side.
Place your computer monitor at eye level, sit up straight, and don’t tilt or twist your head down or to the side while you’re on the computer.
Take frequent breaks when driving or using your smartphone.
Be careful when you sleep. Sleep on your side or on your back.
If your neck is already aching, try these remedies:
Apply heat or ice to the area. Use ice for the first 48 to 72 hours, then switch to heat after that. Heat may be applied with warm showers, hot compresses, or a heating pad. Don’t fall asleep with a heating pad or ice bag in place to avoid skin injuries.
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