In today's modern world, it's easy to spend hours on end hunched over our devices, whether it's our smartphones, laptops, or tablets. This constant forward head posture, known as "Tech Neck," can lead to a host of problems, including neck pain, headaches, and even changes in the structure of our neck and spine.
Forward head posture is a common postural problem in which the head is positioned forward in relation to the shoulders. Research has revealed that the amount of cervical stress caused by the posture of bending the neck forward is quite significant.
60 pounds of pressure crushing down on the cervical spine when you flex your neck forward as if looking down at your phone to check your messages!
Tech Neck Posture is a serious problem.
A study from the American Journal of Epidemiology and public health shows that more than 70% of school-aged children have moderate to severe forward head posture
Another study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that 84.2% of office workers had some degree of forward head posture.
Research Studies Correlating Tech Neck to Musculoskeletal Pain
Tech Neck Posture is associated with increased cervical stress. Over time, the increased amount of pressure on the neck can be quite painful. These research studies link Tech Neck to dysfunctional alignment resulting in musculoskeletal pain.
This study investigated the association between forward head posture (FHP) and neck pain in young female adults. The results showed that FHP was significantly associated with neck pain. The study suggests that correcting FHP may reduce the risk of neck pain in young female adults.
Alsubaie, S. S., Aldali, A. Z., Alrumaih, H. A., Alhujayri, A. K., & Alotaibi, M. M. (2020). Association between forward head posture and neck pain in young female adults. European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 56(1), 78-83.
This study investigated the association between forward head posture (FHP) and musculoskeletal pain among computer workers. The results showed that FHP was significantly associated with neck, shoulder, and upper back pain. The study suggests that improving FHP may reduce musculoskeletal pain in computer workers.
Huang, Y., Wu, W., Wu, C., & Tsauo, J. (2021). Association between Forward Head Posture and Musculoskeletal Pain among Computer Workers: A Cross-Sectional Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(2), 614.
This meta-analysis examined the prevalence and risk factors of neck pain among computer workers. The study found that forward head posture was a significant risk factor for neck pain, highlighting the importance of proper posture while using devices.
Almuhaidib, A., & Alroumi, F. (2020). Prevalence and risk factors of neck pain among computer workers: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, 33(3), 317-328.
This prospective cohort study found that neck pain and forward head posture were closely related, with neck pain often preceding the development of forward head posture among office workers.
Rasmussen, C. D., Holtermann, A., Jørgensen, M. B., & Ørberg, A. (2021). Does neck pain precede or follow forward head posture in office workers? A 12-month prospective cohort study. Ergonomics, 64(8), 1021-1028.
Posture Rehabilitation Exercises are Effective in Reducing Tech Neck Posture
Tech Neck can’t be ignored. Even if you don’t have pain today, if you spend a lot of time on a device, you are at high risk for developing Tech Neck. Posture rehabilitation exercises have been shown to be beneficial in reversing faulty postural alignment from Tech Neck.
This study investigated the effects of cervical retraction exercise on cervical posture, muscle activity, and pain in patients with forward head posture. The results showed that cervical retraction exercise significantly improved cervical posture (FHP), decreased muscle activity, and reduced pain in FHP patients. The study suggests that cervical retraction exercise may be an effective intervention for improving FHP and reducing related symptoms.
Kim, J., & Kim, H. (2021). Effects of cervical retraction exercise on cervical posture, muscle activity, and pain in forward head posture patients. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, 17(1), 51-57.
This study found that a 6-week resistance training program was effective in improving neck strength, posture, and reducing pain among female collegiate athletes, suggesting that exercise can be an effective intervention for tech neck and related issues.
Smith, L. J., Kurucz, P., & Mihalik, J. P. (2021). The effect of a 6-week resistance training program on neck strength, posture, and pain in female collegiate athletes. Journal of Athletic Training, 56(4), 413-420.
This randomized controlled trial found that stretching exercises and reducing smartphone use were effective in reducing neck pain, improving cervical muscle activity, and correcting head posture among smartphone users.
Kim, S. K., Kang, K. T., Kim, Y. J., & Kim, K. (2022). Effects of stretching exercises and smartphone use on neck pain, cervical muscle activity, and head posture in smartphone users: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, 35(2), 263-270.
How to Perform the Neck Retraction Exercise
Neck Retractions are a simple exercise that can help improve neck posture and reduce neck pain.
To perform the exercise, start by sitting up straight in a chair or standing with your back against a wall.
Keep your shoulders relaxed and your chin parallel to the floor.
Imagine a string pulling the top of your head towards the ceiling, elongating your neck.
Gently draw your head back, tucking your chin towards your chest without tilting your head up or down.
You should feel a slight stretch in the back of your neck. Hold this position for 10 seconds before releasing and repeating the exercise 5 times.
It is important to keep your movements slow and controlled and to avoid any jerky or sudden movements. Also, avoid clenching your jaw.
With regular practice, Neck Retractions can help improve your posture, reduce neck pain, and increase the mobility and flexibility of your neck muscles.
Total Tech Neck Prevention Tips
There are plenty of things you can do to prevent Tech Neck that doesn’t require throwing out your smartphone. With these tips, you can maintain good posture while using your devices to keep your neck and spine healthy while using technology.
Set up your workstation ergonomically: One of the biggest contributors to Tech Neck is an improperly set up workstation. To prevent this, ensure that your workstation is ergonomically designed. Your computer screen should be at eye level, your keyboard and mouse should be at a comfortable height, and your chair should provide proper lumbar support.
Take frequent breaks: Sitting in the same position for an extended period of time is not only bad for your posture, but it can also lead to muscle fatigue and strain. To prevent this, take frequent breaks to stand up, stretch, and move around. Experts recommend taking a break every 20-30 minutes to prevent Tech Neck and other musculoskeletal disorders.
Stretch your neck and upper back muscles: Stretching is a great way to prevent Tech Neck and maintain good posture. Neck and upper back stretches can help loosen tight muscles and reduce strain. Try chin tucks, side bends, and neck rotations to stretch out your neck and upper back muscles.
Use voice dictation software: Another way to prevent Tech Neck is to use voice dictation software, which allows you to dictate text without having to type. This way, you can give your neck and shoulders a break from the constant forward head posture required for typing on your device.
Exercise regularly: Exercise is essential for maintaining good posture and preventing Tech Neck. Strengthening exercises for your neck, shoulders, and upper back can help prevent muscle imbalances and reduce the strain on your neck muscles. Start today with the Neck Retraction exercise.
Practice good posture habits: Finally, one of the most effective ways to prevent Tech Neck is to practice good posture habits. This includes keeping your head in a neutral position, with your ears directly over your shoulders, and avoiding hunching or slouching. Remember to sit up straight, keep your shoulders relaxed, and avoid leaning forward while using your devices.
In addition to these tips, there are also several products available that can help prevent Tech Neck, including ergonomic chairs and desks, posture reminder devices, and phone and tablet holders that allow you to use your device at eye level. By following these tips and incorporating these products into your daily routine, you can prevent Tech Neck and maintain good posture while using your devices.
Preventing Tech Neck is especially important for those who use their devices for work or for long periods of time. By taking a proactive approach to maintaining good posture and using technology in a healthy way, you can prevent the onset of neck pain, headaches, and other musculoskeletal disorders.
Don't wait until you experience pain or discomfort to take action for Tech Neck Prevention. Incorporate these tips into your daily routine to prevent Tech Neck and maintain good posture while using your devices.
Your neck and spine will thank you!
Your devices should not be a pain in the neck after all.