Neck Pain? It Could Be Tech Neck

Girl holding her neck in pain at desk

Tech Neck is the downward tilt in your neck adopted when looking down at a phone, tablet, or computer.

This position may cause more serious trouble over time.

Did you know that for every inch your head goes in front of your shoulders, it adds 10 pounds of pressure to your spine? This flattens the cervical (neck) and thoracic (upper to mid-back) curves in the spine, causing not just neck pain, but pain throughout the whole back.

The muscles pull on the bones and the bones change to accommodate the new pressure. Aside from neck and back pain, tech neck can cause stiffness and pain, headaches, and even numbness going down into the arms and hands due to compression of the spinal nerves.

The Wall Test

Stand with your back against a wall. Your head, shoulders, back and buttocks should all be in contact with the wall simultaneously without significant effort. If this requires a little effort, you may benefit from using this test as an exercise to improve your posture. If you’re unable to achieve the test positions (with all body parts in contact with the wall) or it requires a great deal of effort or discomfort, try the treatment approaches below.

How to Overcome Tech Neck

PRO Physical Therapy
If you’re having significant pain or numbness, visit a PRO Physical Therapist. The therapist will evaluate your posture and movement, and use manual and exercise techniques to improve your alignment. You’ll learn more ergonomic ways to interact with technology, to perform work, and with daily activities.

PRO Pilates or Yoga
Both forms of exercise can improve and strengthen posture.

Massage at The Spa at PRO
Massage can address soft tissue restrictions resulting from your tech neck as the tightness in your muscles may be limiting you from returning to an optimal posture. Medical Massage is offered at Willows Road Physical Therapy. This treatment-based massage can help relieve tension, lessen pain, and increase mobility. Targeted, specific healing is the intent and goal of this treatment with the massage therapist working in conjunction with your PRO physical therapist. With a physician’s prescription, medically-necessary massage may be billed to many insurance plans.

Written by Kate Griffith, Physical Therapist, DPT

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