Back pain and neck pain are common problems for a lot of people, but several studies have shown that millennials are more prone to back and neck pain than individuals of previous generations. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are the first generation to grow up with technology such as cellphones and tablet devices and their associated constant connectivity.
It’s no surprise that technology has become a vital part of everyday life for millennials. However, while the long-term effects of intensive technology usage are unknown, some signs are starting to show. Back and neck pain are becoming increasingly common among this well-connected always-online generation.
Increase in Tech Neck in Millennials
Although the term tech neck or text neck is not an official medical diagnosis (yet), it’s becoming an increasingly common term to describe an even more common issue—forward-head syndrome.
This position in which the head is forward, back is slumped, and shoulders are rounded seems to be changing the posture of younger Americans forever.
According to Statista, half of the people surveyed reported spending five to six hours every day on their phones.The time spent on the phone can contribute significantly to neck aches and pain. In fact, according to the same study, millennials spend over 3.5 hours on the phone per day, while Gen Xers spend three hours and boomers only 2.5 hours. With this data in mind, experts say that 7 out of 10 people will experience neck aches at some point in their lives.
Why Is Everyone Blaming Technology?
A New York Post article titled “Tech is turning millennials into a generation of hunchbacks” puts the blame on the excessive use of tech. The article blames slumping over electronic devices for hours a day and how that can lead to the neck losing its natural curve.
A 2018 article in the New York Post talked about how middle-aged or older desk jockeys or professionals used to be the only groups who suffered “hunchback” on the job. However, now younger generations, including millennials, are showing similar signs much earlier in their lives.
The article quotes one expert who states that 20-year-olds today have the spinal health of 30- or 40-year-old people. Moreover, it’s not just neck and back pain these younger people have to deal with; there are also a host of other problems as well, such as breathing issues and anxiety.
What’s the Solution?
The key to combating this problem is, first, awareness: You have to be aware of these unhealthy habits and work to improve your posture.
Take frequent breaks, and perform exercises including stretches, yoga, and foam rolling. A general tip is to hold your mobile device with the elbows a 90-degree angle so the phone is in front of the face. Many phones come with a usage meter that tracks the number of hours you spend on your device. If your device is showing that you spend more than 2.5 hours on it per day, learn how to cut back.
Physical therapy can also help if the pain and stiffness persist. For more chronic pain, you should see a doctor to get the proper help and guidance to address these issues. At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, we have back and neck pain specialists who can help you find relief.
Visit our website to find an orthopedic spine specialist who’s right for you. We serve patients all over the Clear Lake area, including League City, Galveston, and Webster.