Monday, Aug 07, 2023 6 min read

Tech Neck: What Is It & What To Get Rid of It

Bridget Reed

Tech Neck: What Is It & What To Get Rid of It
Tech Neck: What Is It & What To Get Rid of It

A new kind of discomfort has been born in our modern world of fast-paced digital connectivity. Known as "tech neck," this condition is a manifestation of our growing reliance on technology, specifically, the prolonged use of smartphones, tablets, and laptops. 

Despite its mundane appearance, the condition can cause significant discomfort if not addressed properly. Understanding and managing tech neck becomes increasingly important for maintaining our overall wellness as we journey into the digital age.

Looking for ways to ease this increasingly common discomfort? Don’t worry; we’ve got your back (and neck).


What Is Tech Neck?

Colloquially known as "tech neck" or "text neck," these terms are used to describe the discomfort felt in the neck and upper back resulting from the habitual bending of the head to look down at a screen. This constant bending puts immense strain on our cervical spine — the part of the spine that encompasses the neck — and neck muscles. 

The rise of smartphones, mobile phones, and other electronic devices in our daily lives has made tech neck a common issue among users. Our body is designed for movement, and it thrives in a state of balance. However, when we hunch over our devices for long periods, we are causing physical imbalances. 

Ultimately, this form of poor posture can cause the head's weight to shift forward, increasing the load on our neck and back muscles. As a result, these muscles are in a constant state of tension to compensate for this unnatural position, leading to the onset of tech neck.


How Can Tech Neck Impact Our Overall Wellbeing?

Tech neck is not an isolated issue. It creates a chain reaction of discomfort in the body, reaching beyond just the neck. Prolonged periods in a hunched position can lead to shoulder pain and upper back issues and even affect the lower back.

The link between tech neck and shoulder discomfort is fairly straightforward. As we lean forward to look at our screens, our shoulders roll forward, straining the shoulder muscles and increasing soreness. This sustained posture also affects the muscles that run along your spine and between your shoulder blades, causing discomfort in your upper and lower back.

In some cases, tech neck can contribute to more severe conditions such as pinched nerves and herniated discs. A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by the surrounding tissues. This condition can cause discomfort and potentially lead to other issues like numbness or weakness. 

Herniated discs, on the other hand, occur when the soft center of a spinal disc pushes through a crack in the tougher exterior casing, which can irritate nearby nerves resulting in discomfort or numbness.


Understanding Tech Neck and Spinal Health

The human spine, including lumbar and facet joints, is designed to distribute body weight evenly across multiple points. However, tech neck alters this balance, placing additional strain on certain areas. Specifically, the lumbar spine in your lower back can suffer due to the constant forward tilt of your head.

Similarly, the facet joints, which are small joints located at each segment of the spine that provide stability and guide motion, may also bear the brunt of this unnatural load, leading to potential discomfort and dysfunction over time.

These consistent imbalances increase the risk of chronic neck and back discomfort, marking the transition from a temporary state of discomfort to a more enduring one. The altered posture associated with tech neck can even potentially result in a decreased range of motion over time, making it difficult to turn your head or move your shoulders freely.

Remember, your spine is the backbone of your well-being. Maintaining its health is vital to your overall wellness. As we continue to rely on technology in our daily lives, it's crucial to take the necessary steps to support your body and mitigate the impact of tech neck on your spine health. 

Taking action now can help ensure you're not only more comfortable today but you're also promoting your long-term well-being.


What Are Common Symptoms of Tech Neck?

Identifying tech neck in its early stages can significantly improve the course of action taken to address it. 

Common symptoms of tech neck include:

  • Neck Discomfort and Stiffness:This is a primary symptom of tech neck. Individuals may experience an uncomfortable stiffness in the neck area that is pronounced after using devices for extended periods.

  • Muscle Tension:Tension or a feeling of tightness in the neck muscles is a common experience for those with tech neck. This tension often extends to shoulder muscles and can intensify with prolonged device use.

  • Shoulder and Upper Back Discomfort:Tech neck doesn't only affect the neck; the discomfort often extends to the shoulders and upper back, manifesting in a generalized sense of tension or tightness in these areas.

  • Frequent or Intensified Headaches:If you notice an increase in the frequency or intensity of headaches, especially following device use, this could be a sign of tech neck. The strain on your neck muscles and cervical spine can lead to tension headaches.

  • Numbness or Tingling in the Arms:Sensations of numbness or tingling in your arms can be a symptom of tech neck. It could potentially indicate a pinched nerve resulting from the strain and tension caused by poor posture and extended device use.

If you adjust your posture frequently or feel the need to massage your neck and shoulders after using your devices, it's time to reassess your habits. It's important to remember that the connection between these symptoms and spending long periods of time on devices is a clear sign of tech neck.


Ways To Address Tech Neck

In the quest to manage tech neck, a proactive approach involving a combination of preventative measures and targeted interventions is key. 

Let's dive into some steps to support you on this journey.


1. Remain Mindful of Your Posture

Good posture is the cornerstone of mitigating tech neck. It encourages the correct alignment of your body, ensuring even distribution of force across your muscles, ligaments, and joints. Practice sitting and standing up straight with your shoulders pulled back to improve your posture.

 If you notice yourself slouching, intentionally adjust your position, rolling your shoulders back and lengthening your spine. Also, try to keep your neck neutral and your eyes looking forward when using your devices. It can help to hold your cell phone at eye level rather than hunching over it.


2. Create a More Ergonomic Workspace

An ergonomic workspace refers to a setup that supports the natural curves and alignment of your body. It minimizes repetitive strain and maximizes comfort. 

Ensure your computer screen is at eye level, which will naturally encourage you to keep a forward head posture. If buying a new desk or chair isn't an option, consider DIY solutions like using a cushion for lumbar support or elevating your device with a laptop stand or a stack of books.


3. Take Breaks Often

Taking regular breaks is vital to limit the amount of time spent staring at your screen. Make a habit of standing, stretching, or moving around every half an hour or so throughout your workday. This short disruption in sedentary behavior can help alleviate tension and promote blood flow.

You may even find it useful to leave your phone in another room as a way to reduce your smartphone use, limiting your risk of tech neck as you do. 


4. Physical Therapy

In some cases, you might need more specialized support. Physical therapists and chiropractors can provide personalized plans to manage tech neck, including exercises to enhance posture and relieve discomfort.


5. Check In With a Healthcare Professional

If discomfort continues despite lifestyle changes, it’s worth checking in with your doctor. Healthcare professionals can recommend treatments like epidural steroids or trigger point therapy if needed. Alongside professional treatments, consider the role of wellness products that support comfort and good posture.


6. Targeted Relief of Neck and Back Muscles

Keeping your back muscles healthy is crucial as they bear the burden of poor posture. Strengthening exercises such as chin tucks, balanced with stretching and relaxation, can help maintain their wellness.

Targeted relief products like Copper Fit's Rapid Relief Neck & Shoulder Wrap can provide even further support. Designed with a contoured raised collar, it offers soothing hot or cold therapy while you go about your day, providing an effective and practical solution to soothe the discomfort associated with tech neck.


Adapting To the Digital Age With Copper Fit

Tech neck, a product of our smartphone and mobile device-centric lives, presents a growing challenge in our digital age. But we can overcome it with the right tools and know-how. 

Finding ways to proactively support our bodies to navigate the digital world without surrendering to discomfort is key. You can navigate the digital world without sacrificing your comfort and well-being by adding new stretches to your routine, working on your posture, and embracing an ergonomic workspace. 

Copper Fit stands by your side in this journey, offering products designed to support you in maintaining an active and comfortable lifestyle. We invite you to explore our full range of products made with cutting-edge technology and check out more of our resources, embracing a future where tech neck becomes a thing of the past.


Cervical Spine (Neck): What It Is, Anatomy & Disorders | Cleveland Clinic

Association Between Text Neck and Neck Pain in Adults | PMC

Relationship between low back pain and screen time among schoolchildren | PMC

Prevent back pain with good posture | Mayo Clinic

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