Many of us have a daily reliance on devices, from smartphones and tablets to laptops and PCs. Tech Neck, a.k.a Text Neck, refers to neck and back strain resulting from bending downward in an unnatural posture to look at your device. This constant bending downward can lead to Cervical Kyphosis, which is an exaggerated curve in the neck. As a consequence, this shows up as forward head posture accompanied by rounded shoulders. For every inch that your head is held forward, the load on your spine can increase by ten pounds.
Women are 2x more likely to experience symptoms
In a 2018 study published in The Journal of Physical Therapy, researchers found that women were 2 times more likely to complain of musculoskeletal pain following iPad/tablet use compared to men. See our earlier post on breast size and impact on posture.
Common symptoms that people complain about - stiffness, soreness, and pain in the neck, shoulders, upper back, arms and hands. Headaches are a common complaint. Visible signs can include forward head posture and rounded shoulders, as a result of the continual forward bending and downward position.
One of the most important risk factors in developing musculoskeletal pain is sitting "without back support." Young adults were more likely to report related neck and shoulder symptoms compared to older adults. This could be related to the amount and duration of tech use.
Tech neck is a growing problem among children and teenagers as many use their smartphones and tablets for several hours a day. Consider the "excessive forward bending" of the neck while on a device, i.e. playing mobile games, watching videos, using social media, and studying.
Whether you work from home, or are going back to the office, there are some things you can do to prevent Tech Neck.
1) Avoid leaning forward and down
With excessive forward bending, the weight from your head onto the spine significantly increases. So, keep your devices at eye-level.
2) Invest in good back support
Evaluate your ergonomic setup when it comes your desk, chair, and even footrest. Maintain your devices at eye-level.
Woman wearing Kinflyte top
Because women are more susceptible to tech neck related symptoms, you can invest in foundational clothing to counter imbalance. Kinflyte's bras and tops are designed to provide postural cues and reduce pressure on the shoulders and upper back.
3) Take regular breaks to stretch
Regularly stretch every hour to reduce strain on your body. There are different types of stretches you can employ to reduce pressure on your spine and increase flexibility, including rolling your shoulders back, doing chin tucks, and stretching different parts of your body.
Text Neck Syndrome in Children I NCBI
Gender and posture...tablet computer use I Journal of Physical Therapy
Stretch to ease screen-time I Harvard Health
Text Neck can happen to anyone I Well and Good