‘Tech Neck’: What It is and How to Treat It

‘Tech Neck’: Help Prevent a Digital Disability

It’s no secret that many of us spend a lot of time looking at our phones and other screens, often for hours a day.

A major unfortunate side effect of this is “text neck” or, more broadly, “tech neck.”

Tech neck happens when we bend or strain our neck downward or in other positions that put pressure on our neck and other parts of our body. This leads to discomfort and injuries now called digital disabilities.

When our neck and head are in a neutral position, the human head weighs about 10 pounds. But the more we tilt our head back to get a selfie or down to look at our phone, the more the weight of our head on our neck increases—anywhere from 27 to 60 pounds. This puts extra pressure on the spine.

Research found that texting was worse for the neck than other smartphone tasks since the angle of the head while texting was more extreme than while web browsing or watching a video. Researchers also found the most damaging position was texting while sitting. 

Tech Neck Solutions

So, what can we do to prevent or treat tech neck? Here are some things to try.

Better Posture

Try to be more aware of your neck and head, especially when you’re using technology. Are you in a neutral position where your neck and head aren’t leaning forward, back, up or downward? Are your shoulders, arms and neck slumped instead of open?

Posture pro tips: Imagine you’re on an elevator and lift your body toward the sky. Open up, roll back and relax your shoulders.

Less screen time

Using your phone or other technology less may seem undoable, but try to be more aware of how much you’re on your phone and what you’re using it for. Are you doing work that must get done on a phone? Are you spending a good chunk of time on social media or other apps when you could take a break and give your body a rest?

Alternatives

Could you use a dictation app instead of looking down and typing or texting? Here is a guide to some dictation apps and software.

Stretches and Exercises

Try some stretches and exercises to relieve text neck symptoms. See if you can make this a part of your daily routine. To help remind and encourage you, ask a co-worker, friend or family member if they want to do a quick stretch or exercises with you. Chances are, they could use some tech neck relief too.