Neck pain, also known as iNeck or tech neck syndrome, is a prevalent health problem among many who are heavily using digital devices. A research by the Canadian Chiropractic Association states that, “An increased prevalence of musculoskeletal illness for users of computers and video display units has been observed; Cagnie et al reported a 12-month prevalence of neck pain in office workers of 45.5%. Cote et al more recently reported the one year prevalence of neck pain in office workers to range from 17.7% to 63%.”
Besides musculoskeletal issues such as tech neck, heavy usage of mobile devices and computers could also lead to early aging of the neck. The constant bending of the neck to look down at these devices could cause saggy neck as the neck muscles are loosened up.
Apart from tech neck and saggy neck, the modern lifestyle has resulted in many people not being exposed to adequate levels of natural light from the sun during the day. Additionally, the heavy usage of digital devices may cause people to be at a heightened exposure to artificial light known as blue light, that could accelerate their aging process. Sources of blue light include LED light, smartphone displays, computer monitors and TV screens.
The body uses the natural blue light from the sun to distinguish between day and night and to regulate our biorhythm or biological clock. Thus, excessive artificial blue light at night can affect the biorhythm and disturb the phases between wakefulness and sleep. Without enough rest, both body and skin will tend to suffer. On the other hand, blue light activates the production of free radicals that cause damage to cells, worsening the appearance of wrinkles on the eyes and skin.
To treat saggy neck, we can start with non-invasive energy-based devices such as Thermage FLX and Ultherapy. Thermage FLX utilizes mono-polar capacitive radiofrequency to renew collagen and promote skin tightening, while Ultherapy utilizes focused ultrasound to lift and improve the elasticity of the skin.
Alternatively, a variety of minimally invasive treatments are available for consideration. Botulinum toxin can also be used to relax neck muscles which are pulling the skin downwards causing the neck to appear saggy. Alternatively, Profhilo can be used to improve saggy neck – Profhilo is an injectable with the highest concentration of hyaluronic acid that can improve skin quality on the face and neck plagued by sagginess and laxity.
To relief neck ache resulting from tech neck, botulinum toxin can be injected to the back of the neck to relief the pain. Research by the neurology department in Tan Tock Seng Hospital has shown that botulinum toxin has substantial benefit to those who experience cervical dystonia which includes neck ache.
Apart from relieving tech neck, botulinum toxin can help to give an appearance of a slender, swan like neck. This procedure is known as the Nefertiti neck lift, named after the ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti who has the most coveted swan like neck in history. Saggy neck is caused by necklace lines and platysma bands – muscles that stretch from the lower jaw to the upper chest. The Nefertiti neck lift involves administering botulinum toxins to relax these platysma bands that tugs the face and neck downwards.
Botulinum toxin works by causing the controlled weakening of specific muscles by blocking the signals between nerves and muscles. The muscles no longer contract but become “relaxed” thus reducing the aching and sagginess of the neck. However, a single treatment may not be able to solve the issue of tech neck and a series of treatments may be needed.
With the excessive usage of digital devices, signs of aging are starting to form earlier on. Common signs of aging include glabella frown lines and dark eye circles or eye bags. Periorbital rejuvenation is then a common treatment for many patients.
There are a few ways to reduce dark eye circles and eye bags. Topical products are a non-invasive option for improving eye bags. Skinbetter – Instant Effect Eye Gel, can help to improve the firmness and tightness of the skin around the eyes, check it out on our online store for more info.
For moderate to severe eye bags and dark eye circles, non-invasive procedures using energy based devices would be recommended. One would be – Thermismooth a device that utilizes radio frequency to help improve blood circulation, reduce periorbital edema (puffy eyes) and eye bags, as well as tightening skin to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. As for dark eye circles, Dual Yellow Laser can be used to reduce and treat under eye hyperpigmentation, reducing the appearance of dark eye circles.
Other anti-aging treatments that are common among patients would be injectables such as Rejuran or dermal fillers, which are minimally invasive procedures. Rejuran can help to heal and target periorbital (both upper and lower eyelids) skin quality, fine lines, wrinkles and dark eye circles with results that last. Eye makeup sits much better because skin quality and hydration improves. Under eye bags or tear troughs are natural depressions or hollowness which run from the corner of the eyes to the lower eyelid. These depressions get worse with age, due to loss of collagen and fat tissue. Tear Trough Filler can be used to fill under eye hollowness.
Technology comprises a large part of today’s adolescents, also known as Gen Z or iGen, short for internet generation. Gen Z refers to the generation born between 1997 – 2012, following millennials. They are a generation that are growing up with heavy usage of digital devices and may be more prone to developing tech neck and aging signs earlier.
Due to the advancement of technology, recent studies have shown that the tech neck syndrome has been among the rise among adolescents and children, due to the prolonged usage of devices such as computers and mobile phones. A research by Sahmyook University in Seoul, showed that “heavy smartphone use may produce considerable stresses on the cervical spine, thus changing the cervical curve and pain threshold of the muscles around the neck.”
Tech neck and premature aging affect people of all ages may face when there is an excessive usage of digital devices. There are many contributing factors to aging and we have seen that technology has sped up the aging process across all ages. However, with limiting digital usage and early intervention using prejuvenation treatments, premature aging can be prevented. As the treatments mentioned above require experienced and trained doctors, we recommend that you book a consultation with your friendly aesthetic doctor prior to treatment.
To find out more about our products and treatments, please contact the doctor or therapist at Ageless Medical.