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Tackle tech neck tension

One of the fun new terms that’s come about in the age of technology is “tech neck,” sometimes also called “text neck.” This is the tight, painful condition of the neck and shoulders that comes about from staring at devices like smartphones and computers. Check in with yourself as you’re reading this—how is your neck and your posture? Is your neck forward and your upper body hunched over?

If you’re like many others, you might be experiencing pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders, decreased range of motion, intermittent headaches, and possibly peripheral neuropathy—tingling and numbness from nerve pain.

Focal vision

Chiropractic evaluation and adjustments are great for helping relieve pain from tech neck. There are a couple things you can do to support changing the pattern over the long term, though. One thing you can start to notice is that staring at a computer screen, you are using focused vision. In focal vision, your eyes go out to touch the object you’re looking at. Focal vision covers a seven-degree-wide field—which is quite narrow! Notice that as your look at things around you with a focused gaze, your whole head pulls forward along with your eyes.

Changing your focus

Now imagine that you have eyes on the back of your head. As you “see” with those eyes, notice that it pulls your head back, automatically aligning your skull atop your neck with your chin tucking in slightly, which brings your heart forward and up and straightens your whole spine. If you remember to get up and walk around regularly after staring at a screen, pretending you have eyes in the back of your head while you’re walking can be an effective mental cue to help relieve tech neck tension.

Peripheral vision

Imagining eyes in the back of your head might be a hard cue to remember while you’re back on the computer or screen, so here’s something else to try. You can widen the seven-degree field and start using your peripheral vision more, even when you’re looking at a screen. Just soften your gaze and encompass the lateral edges of your vision more. When you’re using your peripheral vision, you’re allowing the object you’re looking at to come to you rather than your eyes going to it. This automatically relaxes your neck muscles so they don’t start straining to bring your head out front.

Just noticing the little things in how you hold yourself and how you perceive the world around you can be helpful in dealing with things like tech neck, as well as increasing your toolkit for creating ease and well-being in a hectic modern life.

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