With a growing number of individuals in the UK experiencing neck and back pain, many are questioning what could be causing these rising numbers.
One cause which cannot be ignored is the increasing number of hours individuals spend desk-bound in front of their computers. According to recent research, tech is turning millennials into a generation of hunchbacks, with many complaining they suffer from ‘tech neck’.
Tech neck is a modern age term given for the aches and pains in neck, head and shoulders, as a result of spending hours hunched over a computer or staring down at a smart phone.
Over time, tech neck can not only put stress on the neck and shoulders, causing stiffness, but as an unexpected consequence, can cause damage to your spine too. The great news is that the condition is reversible and there are exercises you can do at your desk, where you spend most of your time in front of a computer, to prevent further discomfort.
Kate Burdett, Head Trainer at leading London Pilates studio, Raw Pilates (www.rawpilates.co.uk), shares her top tips on how you can combat tech neck once and for all.
Keep Your Desktop at Eye Level
Using a monitor stand for your computer can help to ensure your screen is at eye level. This will reduce neck flexion and mean that your head will no longer be leaning forward, resulting in that unwanted forward crouching that results in neck aches and pains. If you work from a laptop, placing the laptop on a stand and attaching to a separate keyboard will offer the same results. It may also be worth considering swapping to a standing desk, this will not only help to prevent the effects of tech neck, but will provide a variety of health benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity too.
Take Regular Breaks from Your Screen
Taking regular intervals from your screen will get you out of the habit of looking down and will prevent your neck, head and shoulders from being in the same slumped position for too long. Just 3 minutes per hour will really benefit the muscles and joints in your upper body, giving your body the chance to relax and reenergise before going back to your desk.
Try Simple ‘at work’ Exercises from The Comfort of Your Own Desk
Practicing posture improving sequences regularly can help to alleviate symptoms of tech neck and prevent further aches and pains. These sequences are simple, and you can find advice and instructions on how to perform these properly online.
Incorporate Pilates Into Your Routine
Although stretching and movement will help, I also highly recommend regular Pilates sessions to help combat tech neck. The strength aspect of Pilates will help to improve your posture and give you a stronger body long term. Pilates can also help to build a strong core and keep the spine strong enough to support bad postural habits. I would recommend trying a few classes at Raw Pilates, where sessions incorporate the use of equipment such as barrels, which will help you to alleviate any tension.
Keep Your Body Hydrated
The spine is made up of mostly water, therefore it is essential that you keep your body well hydrated. Water is the most healthy and obvious choice for keeping your body up to its optimum hydration levels. Aim to drink at least 2 litres per day as this will help support your spinal discs, which are largely made up of water.