Do you suffer from "Tech Neck"?
“Tech Neck“ is a name for a very common issue for neck, shoulders, upper back and headaches due to the repetitive strain caused by the use of phones, tablets, and computers.
How to prevent “Tech Neck”?
Choose an upright chair and make adjustments: Adjust your chair height and use a box or footrest under your feet to allow for a 90-degree bend at the knees. Your hips and knees should be on the same line (the knees can be a little bit higher) in order to keep your back straight. Check that there is a small space between the back of your knees and the chair, this is to avoid pressure on the back of the knees. Avoid crossing your legs.
Place a rolled up towel or a pillow behind your lower back for support.
Keep your shoulders relaxed and elbows close to the body when working at a desk. Aim to keep your elbows at approximately 90-degrees and your forearms parallel to the floor.
Adjust the height of the computer screen and position correctly your keyboard:
Position your computer screen directly in front of you, with the center of the screen at your nose level. If the screen is too low, you will tend to tilt your head down and naturally increase the pressure in your neck. If you work mainly on a laptop, you can also use a secondary display.
As for the computer keyboard, place it close enough to your body so that your elbows are bent about 90 ° when using the keyboard. Place the keyboard high enough so that you do not have to slouch on your shoulders so that your fingers are in contact with the keys of the keyboard. The mouse, on the other hand, should be at the same level as the keyboard.
The screen of the desktop or PC should be in front of you, not on the side, in order to limit twists of the cervical and lumbar spine.
The distance between you and your screen should equal the length of your arm when seated, which is approximately 50-70 cm. If the screen is too close or too far away, you risk or too far away, you risk feeling visual fatigue: headaches, dry eyes etc...
When you are seated correctly with your back straight, your ears should be aligned with your shoulders and your look should reach the top of the screen. If necessary, enhance it with a thick book. In this position, the content of the information consulted is located in a downward angle of 15 degrees. This is your visual comfort zone. Your posture will thus remain neutral, to prevent placing strain on the neck.
Adjust the brightness, definition and size of the text on your screen. This will allow you to improve your visual comfort as you will not need to lean forward to decipher the information on the screen.
No matter how comfortable you are after making all the adjustments needed, it is still important to change position from time to time, among other things to improve blood circulation and prevent blood stagnation in the legs. It is recommended, if possible, to do a break of 5 minutes and get up and walk a little, every two hours.
What do you know about your cervical spine?
The cervical spine is the most superior portion of the vertebral column, lying between the cranium and the thoracic vertebrae.
It consists of seven distinct vertebrae, two of which are given unique names:
The first cervical vertebrae (C1) is known as the atlas.
The second cervical vertebrae (C2) is known as the axis.
Do you know why your first cervical vertebra (C1) is called the Atlas vertebra?
In the Greek mythology, Atlas was one of the most famous Titan. He was the leader of the Titan rebellion against Zeus. After the defeat of the titans, he was condemned by Zeus to eternally hold up the universe on his shoulders.
Our head is not heavy as the universe, but still, weight approximately between 5 and 7 kg for an adult, much more in proportion, for the baby. It takes about three months for a baby to build enough muscle and straighten his head when he is on his stomach. This is it is very important to support a baby's head when carrying him since if the head moves backwards it is dangerous because the arteries which enter the cranial box at the back are compressed and bent. The medulla oblongata and part of the brain are then deprived of circulation and therefore of oxygen.
Even an adult who stares upward for too long could faint, because the brain is no longer irrigated, but he would not fall forwards or backwards. It would be a slow, spiraling fall. This is a physiological reaction to protect the brain.
The skull is supported directly by the Atlas vertebra, there are no intervertebral disc, neither between the Atlas vertebra and the axis vertebra, the one below the Atlas that have odontoid process about which the atlas rotates. The atlas and the axis allow a wide range of movement to the head. The atlas and axis are part of the spine’s craniovertebral junction (CVJ)—this is where the base of your brain becomes part of your spinal column. The spinal cord descend through the spinal canal in the center of the vertebra. Fundamental nerves and blood vessels are passing through the sides’ foramen of the vertebras. Moreover the neck vertebra are smaller than the others and there is a hypermobility in this are so the cervical area is very vulnerable and it’s really important to protect it.
Many muscles cover the neck, they are attached to the skull, cervical vertebrae and clavicles. They allow head mobility and are mostly strap-shaped.
So the question is - should you relax or tone the neck muscles?
Have you ever fallen asleep on an airplane? Your head falls forward, backward or on the sides. Your neck muscles are relaxed during your sleep… Breathing is limited and you wake up with a sore neck.
Torticollis is often caused by a bad posture during sleep, the muscles are relaxed but the neck is badly positioned.
Remember, your need to keep your head, approx... 7 kg, against the gravity, so your tinny 7 cervical vertebras need the support of muscles to keep your head straight.
We are always offered exercises to relax the neck and not enough to tone it. However, to avoid the crushing of the cervical vertebras and to keep, as the expression says, the "Head on the Shoulders",
that is to say in a correct alignment, without having one side weaker or stronger than the other, it would be necessary to work on toning the neck, from its base upwards, feeling like you're pushing your head towards the sky and not sagging so you can avoid tension or pain in the neck.
La Puissance insoupçonnée du Gainage, Dr. Bernadette de Gasquet & Teddy Riner, Marabout, 2021
Yoga sans Dégâts!, Dr. Bernadette de Gasquet & Jean-Paul Bouteloup, Marabout, 2015
Pour en finir avec le mal de dos, Dr. Bernadette de Gasquet, 2016
So if you are one of those who often suffer from stiffness in the neck or you want to prevent that from happening, join me for a short and healthy practice right now!