Health Column: Are you suffering from tech neck?
Special to the Free Press
Tech neck is a “totally epic” way to describe a delightful condition called lordosis. Lordosis is the deviation of the normal curvature of your cervical vertebrae and yes, the name “lordosis” is lame and in dire need of a trendy new marketing name to create more “awareness” about the problem.
Tech neck means that you develop symptoms because your head is chronically thrown forward while you gaze at your electronic device. The time we spend in this horrible posture is ever increasing, and it adds much more than normal tension to the entire structure of your body — not just your neck.
I have heard of many mathematical calculations to describe this phenomenon. I like the “10 pounds of additional pressure for every inch forward” description best. Tech neck negatively affects the function of not only the neck but the shoulders, low back, hips and legs.
Once again, it’s the kids who suffer the most. About the same time that junior gets a phone is when onset begins. It’s a shame to see an 11-year-old with a straight-forward neck that’s giving them headaches, vision problems, vertigo, fatigue, shoulder pain, gait problems, etc. When I was a kid, we got injured by being kids.
What’s funny is that we already know about this problem and the simple fix (less electronics/more exercise), but we are too busy looking at our phones (perhaps to Google “tech neck”) to do anything about it.
It is a little weird for me to address injuries from overusing electronics since my specialty is sports injuries. Maybe in the future, people will specialize in injuries sustained by tech zombies? I should have known that the aftermath of “gamer’s thumb” would be much more entertaining.
Here are some of my suggestions for new technology-related-injury names for the future.
Tech trip and bust yourself up: I see this one a lot while walking around town. People with their heads buried in their phones are so immersed with the wonder of technology that they walk into traffic or trip on flat surfaces.
Tech car crash (AKA texting and driving): Not only do you slowly damage your neck, you also get into a car wreck or simply swerve enough to send someone else into the river.
Tech dementia: You can’t do anything without first consulting technology. You can’t recall any phone numbers, what day it is or even your own middle name without a “smart” device to help you.
Tech fall off the treadmill: How boring would exercising be without having your favorite personal beats blasting through your head? Just remember to get mesmerized enough by your phone that you involuntarily try gymnastics as you fly off the treadmill.
Tech ADHD: This occurs when a person develops symptoms similar to ADHD but only because you have an electronic device chronically stuck to your face. As you might have suspected, I occasionally like to joke around a little, but this one is actually real.
Tech emo: This disorder describes a person who can conveniently avoid interpersonal relationships without having to wear all black or listen to the Cure. By simply filling the void with fake, electronic garbage, the tech emo person can thus avoid selling out to commercialism.
Tech physique: This happens slowly over time as we realize that the digital universe is much more comforting than reality. As we continually enable ourselves to be the victims of tech manipulation, we naturally get the tech physique without even breaking a sweat.
In closing, remember to be careful with that tech device. They can be as dangerous as reality.
This is by no means a complete list so please feel free to share your tech-injury stories with us.
Steve Wells is a personal trainer and co-owner of Midland Fitness in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
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