Prevention and Cure for Turtleneck Syndrome
Are you experiencing pain and discomfort on your neck, upper back, and surrounding areas due to incorrect posture? You might be suffering from a condition called turtleneck syndrome (also termed text neck, tech neck, or nerd neck syndrome). This is a condition characterized by tightness in the upper back muscles and weakness in the muscles in the front area of the neck.
Causes and Symptoms of Turtleneck Syndrome
The most common cause of this condition is incorrect posture that is often developed when you spend too much time looking down on your phone or on your laptop screen. When you do this often, you tend to unconsciously overextend your neck, causing the muscle to support an increased amount of weight that later leads to pain and pressure.
So, what do you do when you experience tech neck syndrome? And how can you prevent its occurrence?
How to Cure and Prevent Turtleneck Syndrome
If you are already experiencing pain and discomfort caused by text neck syndrome, there are things you can do to get relief from the pain.
Stretching and Exercise
Relieve tension and reduce pain on your neck and upper back by stretching the muscles around this area. You can try any of the following simple stretches:
- Tilting your head side to side
- Rolling your shoulders to the back
- Pulling your shoulder blades together
Therapy and Massage
Massaging the affected area can reduce muscle tension and promote blood flow. You can do this on your own by using a foam roller or massage gun or ball, or you may seek the help of a professional massage therapist. You can also apply heat or cold to the affected area to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Try using a heating pad or ice pack for 15-20 minutes at a time.
If the pain persists, try over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Important reminder: If none of the mentioned tips work, seek professional help.
If, on the other hand, you are just starting to feel discomfort on your neck and upper back and suspect that it could be turtleneck syndrome causing the problem, there are things you can do to prevent further pain.
Maintain Proper Posture
This means keeping your shoulders back and down and your neck in a neutral position when using your phone or computer. Be extra mindful about your posture.
Take Frequent Breaks
Get up from your chair and take a break every 20-30 minutes to stretch and move around. Make sure you don’t stay in the same position for long hours.
Adjust Your Screen Height and Angle
When looking on your phone or laptop screen, make sure you keep the screen at eye level so that you won’t have to look down at it.
Limit Your Screen Time
Too much screen time is harmful in many ways. So as much as you can, avoid spending too much time on your screen, especially before bed. If you really have to, try using the voice commands function in your devices. Use voice commands to dictate messages or perform other tasks on your phone to avoid looking down at the screen for extended periods.
Strengthen Your Neck Muscles
Keep the muscles active and engaged. When doing your regular exercise, make sure that you incorporate exercises that will strengthen the neck and upper back muscles. The stretching exercises we mentioned in the earlier part of this article are also great for the prevention of turtleneck syndrome.
Creating an Ergonomic Environment to Address Turtleneck Syndrome and Other Harmful Health Conditions
A poorly designed workspace can cause overall harm to your body, and the only solution is to take a closer look at the design of your space and create small enhancements to adjust the space and make it healthy and conducive to your work. Here are some recommended additions you may consider:
An adjustable desk will not only help you alternate between sitting and standing but also ensure that you get the correct height for your laptop or computer, preventing eye strain and turtleneck syndrome.
Choose an ergo chair with a headrest. This way, you can lean back and rest your neck, head, and shoulders even when you are working, relieving the muscles from pressure and strain.
This is a pair of metal arms that will allow you to reposition your monitors so that you can easily adjust them to the correct height whenever you need to, all while giving you more space on your desk.
While painful and uncomfortable, turtleneck syndrome can be easily addressed with simple adjustments in your habits and workspace. Try any of the tips we mentioned and choose from any of the ergonomic equipment and accessories above to alleviate the pain and discomfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
The good news: yes! With proper posture correction, habit changes, and a tweak in your lifestyle, you can say goodbye to the symptoms of turtle neck syndrome and get relief. All you have to do is check which may be causing the problem, and then address it. Is it incorrect screen positioning in your desk? Adjust your screen so that it aligns with your eyes well and you won’t need to overextend your neck. Is it caused by too much looking down on your phone? Make the conscious effort to change this and, likely, you will experience relief. Make that lifestyle change today!
The answer to this question will depend on how severe the symptoms are and how long the condition has been going on and ignored. Recovery time can range from a few days to a few week for mild cases, and as long as a few months for severe cases–provided the treatment is ongoing and you do not revert back to your old harmful habits.
While there may be some ways to get instant relief, like massage or therapy, the only way to get a permanent fix is to change your lifestyle. Correct your posture, rearrange your working environment, and be mindful about your screen and working habits to make sure that you don’t fall back to the old habits that caused the condition in the first place. Consistency is key!
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