We’ve probably all heard of the term “tech neck” but what does it really mean. With dramatically increased use of cell phones for texting, emails and social media along with the use of computers for work, an increasing number of people are suffering with a cluster of symptoms that are related to the use of these devices. While there is no medical definition for “tech neck”, symptoms like a stiff and painful neck, shoulder pain, headaches, thumb numbness, blurry vision and dry eyes are some signs that you are suffering from this modern malaise. And you know what, these are signals from your body that something is wrong and that you should make a change. My suggestion is that that change should not be to take an Advil, put some eye drops in and go back to scrolling!
Acupuncture can be a wonderful intervention for all these symptoms. Acupuncture is clinically proven to reduce stress, increase circulation, decrease inflammation and reduce pain. This will address all of the symptoms listed above and help alleviate your tech neck. However, if you continue with the activities that caused the problem in the first place, you will need continued acupuncture treatments to manage the problem. Other changes you can make to help the acupuncture be more effective and last longer, are listed below.
Reduce Stress: Stress alone can cause many of the above symptoms so reducing or managing your stress can be a great way to reduce or manage your symptoms.
Exercise: Strengthening and stretching the muscles in the neck and increasing circulation can help alleviate tech neck symptoms (and it also helps reduce stress!)
Ergonomics & Posture: Better ergonomics at your desk and better posture, both at your desk and while using a cell phone, can help reduce symptoms. Eliminate hunching, holding a phone with your shoulder, having your head forward (placing stress on the neck). These can all reduce or eliminate tech neck symptoms.
Take Breaks: Breaks at regular intervals to stand up, stretch and give your eyes a break can short circuit the process that leads to tech neck symptoms.
Reduce Screen Time: You knew it was coming! Yes, put the phone down and walk away slowly! Easier said than done but unless you want these symptoms to become permanent problems, this is the biggest change you can make to help. Set aside a certain amount of time, at specific times, every day to check emails, texts or Facebook. Don’t bring your phone to bed with you, if you need an alarm clock, I’ll buy you one! Leave your phone at home or in the car, really, that dinner you are eating is not that interesting.
These problems can morph in to serious issues, some requiring surgery (carpal tunnel etc.) and can even lead to abuse of pain medications. Over the counter pain relievers can help short term, but they are just that, a short-term solution not meant long term use. Before they become serious, get some help and make some changes, you are worth it!
Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!
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