Constantly texting could be making you look older – here’s why

Amaris B.

Updated On:

Apr 16, 2023

Archive Date:

Mar 9, 2020

Constantly looking down affects the skin underneath your chin, causing it to sag – the same way that gravity takes a toll on your skin as you get older due to a depletion in collagen and skin tissue becoming laxer.

Table of contents

Tech neck - what it is, and how to treat & prevent this pain | Amaris B. Clinic by Dr. Ivan Puah

You see this phenomenon everywhere – be it in homes and offices, walking down the street, riding the bus, or standing in line, everyone has their head down and their eyes glued to mobile phones.

Although the occasional scrolling of Facebook may not seem like much, it all adds up – in 2019, it was found that Americans spent a daily average of five hours and 53 minutes with digital media, including three hours and 17 minutes a day on non-voice activities on mobile devices, according to eMarketer.

Here’s another fact that may shock you: regular hunching over a mobile phone is causing almost everyone to suffer from a stress injury called tech/text neck, and this injury not only causes you to suffer from pains but also age much faster than you realise.

What Is Tech Neck, And How Is It Caused?

Tech neck - what it is, and how to treat & prevent this pain | Amaris B. Clinic by Dr. Ivan Puah

To understand how tech neck is affecting you, you need to first understand what causes this to occur.

“Tech neck” is a term commonly used by medical professionals to describe a repetitive stress injury where your muscles are excessively stressed while using phones, tablets, and computers, typically resulting in neck and shoulder pain, stiffness, and soreness.

When you’re working on a computer or looking down at your phone, the muscles in the back of your neck have to contract to hold your head up. The more you look down, the more the muscles work to keep your head up. When you hold your head at a 45-degree angle or greater, the physical stress on your neck gets dangerously high.

Is Tech Neck Preventable, And How Can I Prevent It?

The good news is that even though tech neck is very prevalent, it is preventable.

The easiest way to prevent tech neck is to cut down on your mobile device usage. Let’s admit it – most of us don’t need to be looking at our phones as often as we do, it is just a habit we’ve developed.

Set aside pockets of time in a day where no devices are allowed, and once you’ve managed to accomplish this for a week, try making these no-device intervals longer in the following week. These may seem like small steps but they will pay off in the long run.

However, if your job does require you to spend long hours at the computer or constantly be on your phone, what you can do instead is to make sure that you practise good posture habits all day.

Relax your head, neck, and shoulder – they should be in a neutral position, where only your eyes are lowered to look down at your devices. It is also good to do some simple neck strengthening exercises throughout the day: slowly move your head from left to right, then up and down.

What Are The Physical Repercussions Of Tech Neck?

We also have bad news for those of us who have been hunched over a phone or computer for too many years: shoulder joint and neck pain are not the only physical repercussions you have to deal with.

Shoulder Joints And Neck Pain

As mentioned, stressing the muscles in the back of your neck and shoulder for long durations can cause pain.

However tempting it is to try and rectify your pain yourself through means such as cracking your neck, here’s what you need to know: cracking your neck too forcefully can pinch the nerves in your neck and make it difficult or impossible to move your neck, or even further strain the muscles that you are trying to relax – not quite the result you are looking for!

You are encouraged to seek the help of myotherapists who can carry out myotherapy, a form of physical therapy that treats and manages musculoskeletal pain.

This should not be confused with your regular spa massages or physiotherapies: it is a more hands-on treatment that uses various massage techniques to treat muscle pain. Hence, myotherapists are equipped with enhanced skill sets such as exercise prescription, nutrition, biomechanics and postural assessment.

Take Amaris B. Clinic’s qualified Clinical Myotherapist, Ronald Villegas, as an example: one of the few myotherapists in Singapore, Ronald helps patients with tech neck with a comprehensive treatment plan. First, he identifies a patient’s triggers and lifestyle habits before doing hands-on therapy to treat the muscle pain. He then works closely with the patient to create personalised solutions that can reduce the pain from tech neck and prevent inflammation in the long run.

Double Chin

According to Dr. Kormeili, a board-certified dermatologist from the United States, constantly looking down affects the skin underneath your chin, causing it to sag – the same way that gravity takes a toll on your skin as you get older due to a depletion in collagen and skin tissue becoming laxer.

If you’ve noticed that a double chin has developed thanks to years of looking down at your mobile phone, don’t panic: you can seek medical help.

Laserlipolysis (Laser Liposuction) is one of the options available if you are looking for a minimally-invasive fat reduction treatment for a small fat area. The results you get from this treatment are permanent as it dissolves the fat cells, so you do not have to worry about your long working hours at the computer giving you a double chin again in the future.

That being said, if you want to get natural results from your Laserlipolysis (Laser Liposuction) treatment, you need to make sure that you are seeking help from a good doctor who has not only the medical know-how but also an artistic sense to know how to shape your chin so that it looks best on you.

Tech neck - what it is, and how to treat & prevent this pain | Amaris B. Clinic by Dr. Ivan Puah

Consider Dr Ivan Puah from Amaris B. Clinic, a doctor who combines both aesthetic sense and artistic mastery to create a sculpted, natural-looking face. He is an accredited liposuction doctor in Singapore with indisputable skills and a wealth of experience.

Wrinkled Neck

It’s not just your chin getting pulled down by gravity when you look down at your phone – your neck also tends to age much faster with the emergence of dreaded wrinkles. According to New York City dermatologist Dr Jeanette Graf, the more your neck moves, the more you reinforce the lines on your neck!

Although neck wrinkles were once commonly associated with those in their forties or fifties, dermatologists have started reporting seeing patients in their thirties or younger. If you worry that you have joined the ranks, there are two aesthetic treatments that you can opt for to target different creases in your neck: Ultherapy and Anti-Wrinkle Injection (BoNTA).

Ultherapy is an FDA-approved non-invasive procedure that is used to treat landscape creases. Ultherapy uses time-tested ultrasound energy to lift and tighten the skin naturally and restore skin's elasticity and youthful appearance without surgery, putting the bounce back into the skin and your confidence.

However, beware of companies using counterfeit devices that may result in burns to the treated area. Only a handful of medical providers in Singapore offer authentic Ultherapy treatment, including Amaris B. Clinic.

Anti-Wrinkle Injection (BoNTA) will do the trick for horizontal creases on the neck. Your result is dependent on the skills and aesthetic sense of your doctor. Not every medical practitioner has the aesthetic sensibility to provide patients with the optimal cosmetic outcome. A successful and optimal result lies in the doctor's ability to create a subtle, balanced, rested, and natural appearance for the patient.

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