3 Ways to tell if you have Tech Neck (and what to do about it!)

March 3, 2020

Do you suffer from Tech Neck?

What is Tech Neck??  A term coined by a chiropractor, ”tech neck” refers to overuse syndrome or a repetitive stress injury in your neck from looking at your mobile electronic device for too long. It sounds crazy, but this is the world we live in now! The American Posture Institute has identified three different levels of posture severity: 

Level 1: Proper Tech Posture

  • Ears are aligned over the shoulders
  • Eyes looking forward instead of looking down
  • Back is straight
  • Person is standing or sitting up

Level 2: Standing & Slumped Tech Neck

  • Ears are in front of the shoulders
  • Head drops down
  • Shoulders and upper back are rounded forward
  • Person is standing

Level 3: Cervical Spine Tech Neck

  • Ears are in front of the shoulders
  • Head drops down
  • Eyes are looking down
  • Shoulders and upper back are rounded forward
  • C-shaped spinal curvature
  • Person is seated and slumped

Most of us won’t be in perfect posture all the time, and we will sometimes experience discomfort in our neck and shoulders from everyday life. How do you know if you’re past normal aches and pains and require some intervention? Here are three main symptoms to look for.

  • When you’re not looking at a phone: Rounded shoulders with head forward neck posture

Head forward posture, while common, is not a normal state for your body to be in. Every centimeter your head is forward puts more pressure on the spine, jaw, and neck. Muscles in the front of the neck become weak and stretched out, while muscles in the upper chest and neck become short, tight, and knotted. Take a picture from the side and line your ear up with your shoulder. If your ear sits forward of your shoulder, it might be time to get checked out.

  • Headaches

Tension-type headaches affect us all occasionally. But if that vice grip around your temples or throbbing in your eyes is happening on a weekly (or more frequent!) basis, your screen time may be to blame.

  • Neck and upper back pain

Like headaches, neck and back pain are facts of life sometimes. If your shoulders feel like rocks and are really tender when you squeeze them (or if you find yourself trying to massage your own shoulders often during the day), it’s gone past the normal wear and tear of daily living.

“I think this describes me.” you say. “What do I do?”

Multi-disciplinary care, including chiropractic, can help with Tech Neck.  Booking an assessment to determine where you’re at and coming up with a plan of action is our recommendation. Here’s how the process begins.

  • A complete history and spinal exam to ensure proper care for your back, neck and any other potential issues. Followed by:
  • Chiropractic adjustments: With several different techniques to make all patients feel comfortable, including soft-tissue work for your rock-hard muscles.
  • Specific stretches and strengthening exercises to speed the healing process and maintain a healthy and pain free body.

Remember this, tilting the head forward only 15 degrees places approximately 27 lbs on your neck. Forget carrying a toddler on your back. This is like placing one on the back of your head all day!! And it only gets heavier the greater the angle!

Some things you can do today to stop Tech Neck from getting worse (prevention is key!!)

  • Avoid excessive mobile usage and take frequent breaks.
  • Avoid prolonged static postures. Position the device such that it reduces stresses both on the head/neck and the upper extremities.
  • Avoid high repetitions of movements such as prolonged typing or swiping.
  • Avoid holding large or heavy devices in one hand for a prolonged duration

With over 90% of the population using handheld devices, remember: Just because neck and back pain are common, does not mean it’s normal to be in pain.






Posted in Uncategorized by Jen Wright