Image credit: Medbridge
“Tech neck” is a phenomenon of the modern era as a result of more time looking down at our devices. Cell phones, laptops, desktops, and hand-held gaming devices all draw our focus, along with our head and neck, resulting in flexed posture which can result in pain and soreness of the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
Posture is everything when it comes to general and occupational habits. Sustained forward head posture with any activity will cause fatigue and strain to the muscles and ligaments in the neck and upper back. Over time, these muscles in the back of the head, front of the chest, and neck become tight, and muscles that are designed to maintain upright posture become weak.
Strategies to prevent tech neck include examining your posture and making sure that your head is positioned properly and not tilted forward. Next, limit device usage to shorter periods to avoid fatigue. As muscles become fatigued, posture becomes more compromised, and pain may result.
Exercises can be done to correct changes in posture and relieve soreness resulting from tech neck. Strengthening the upper back muscles and deep neck flexors as well as stretching of the anterior muscles such as the chest muscles may help. Physical therapy may be required for chronic cases. Southern New Hampshire Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation can help with tech neck and a wide range of diagnoses, including orthopedic/sports injuries, neurological conditions, pediatric care, and oncological rehabilitation.
Fiebert I, Kistner F, Gissendanner C, DaSilva C. Text neck: An adverse postural phenomenon. Work. 2021;69(4):1261-1270. doi: 10.3233/WOR-213547. PMID: 34366308.