Back Pain and Ear Seeds

These days, people spend countless hours using computers, smartphones, and tablets. Research shows that individuals spend around four hours daily just with their smartphones alone, which is already 1,400 hours every year. And while we check the latest updates on Facebook, or emails, and texts, we're developing complications by overstressing our necks. This forward curve can have damaging effects and we don't even realize it. This widespread problem has come to be known as "tech neck" by doctors. Because many people are susceptible to developing back, neck, or shoulder problems, ear seeds are becoming a popular treatment to help combat the pain from these conditions. 

What is Tech Neck? 

To better understand what tech neck is and how it affects your hair, it's best to first learn more about the cervical spine. 

The Cervical Spine

The neck, also known as the cervical spine, is made up of seven small vertebrae and is the most movable and flexible part of the spine. It is responsible for allowing the head to move up and down as well as turn side to side. Your cervical spine has a natural lordotic curvature, which means that it can bend inward at your neck gently. Furthermore, it helps to even out the kyphotic or backward curve of your thoracic spine and helps to balance the weight of your head evenly. Since your cervical spine is highly flexible, it's also more vulnerable to damage and pain — with tech neck being a frequent source.  

Tech Neck

Also known as cervical kyphosis, tech neck is a frequently painful condition that results from the hunchback slouch that individuals practice whenever they use electronic devices. This issue starts when you bend your neck forward to see your smartphone or electronic device better. The condition has the following repercussions: 

  • Causes a lot of tension to your neck and shoulders
  • Places a great deal of strain on your spine
  • Causes upper-back pain

The pain experienced from tech neck typically builds up over time and might go away after several days or weeks. It may also go away temporarily only to come back sporadically over many years. The neck soreness and stiff neck could spread down to the mid-back and shoulder blades, maybe even into your arms. It can be just a dull ache but may also be sharp at times and can also cause headaches. You may feel it when you use an electronic device, or it might bother you during your sleep. Eventually, the time will come when the pain is no longer bearable and may negatively impact your life.

How Does Tech Neck Impact You? 

  • Structural Back and Neck Problems: 

    As your posture becomes worse, the muscles on the upper back stretch out, and the muscles in the front of your body start to become weaker. Tech neck not only causes structural back and neck problems but can also create breathing problems. 

    • Strains Your Neck:

      Using your smartphone or computer all day can lead to more neck strain. A forward head position will cause the muscles to overstretch behind your neck, leaving the muscles in the front to shorten excessively. 

      • Shoulder Pain: 

        On top of the neck pain, you get from texting on your phone, you may also experience shoulder pain. Because smartphones are small, many individuals tend to hunch their shoulders to hold their smartphones. Incorrect ergonomics while sitting in front of the computer can also cause you to hunch. 

        • Headaches: 

          You might also experience headaches, either from tilting your head down to read your phone's display or from having your head forward over your shoulders too far to read your computer monitor. 

          • Stiffness: 

            Stress and inflammation of your connective tissues and neck muscles can cause hardening or stiffening of tissues, limiting the rotation in your neck. 

            How Ear Seeds Can Help 

            Ear seeds are used to stimulate pressure points in your ear. They are placed on certain points of the ear to trigger acupressure points. Based on the same general principles as acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, ear seeds are designed to target specific pressure points for specific conditions. Using ear seeds is a cost-effective and virtually pain-free treatment that can be done from the safety of your home. You can comfortably work at home, as ear seeds can be used to ease problems linked to sitting for long stretches of time, such as tech neck, back pain, and shoulder pain. 

            Are Ear Seeds Effective? 

            There are studies that demonstrate the use of ear seeds. Some of these results have been recorded in the studies outlined below: 

            2012 Study 

            A 2012 study examined the benefits of using ear seeds for back pain in a seven-day treatment period. When auricular acupressure was used to reduce chronic lower back pain, participants reported a 46% reduction in their worst pain areas and a 50% reduction in average pain. Furthermore, an additional 60% of participants also reported using less of their pain medication. 

            2013 Study

            Results of a 2013 study that looked at 19 people living with chronic lower back pain suggested that ear seeds could help reduce pain and improve mobility. Participants were divided into two groups, where the first had ear seeds placed on points associated with back pain, while the other half had ear seeds placed in random areas of the ear. The first group noticed better results than the second group after four weeks of treatment. Participants from the first group also noted an overall decrease in pain intensity, where the improvement lasted for at least a month. 

            Why Use Ear Seeds for Back Pain? 

            As mentioned above, ear seeds are a near-painless and non-invasive alternative treatment that can be used by themselves or in conjunction with other therapies. You can use ear seeds in the comfort of your home whenever you like! Ear seeds can also be used as a supporting option to your usual acupuncture sessions or as a stand-alone solution.