Schedule an Appointment

Comprehensive Guide to Alleviating the Strain of Modern Technology on Your Neck

Tech Neck, also known as cervicalgia, is a prevalent condition characterized by chronic neck pain resulting from the repetitive strain on the cervical muscles. This has witnessed a surge in prevalence due to the widespread utilization of smartphones, tablets, and computers.

The Effects of Forward Head Posture on Neck Muscles

The average human head weighs 10-12 pounds when in perfect posture with the head aligned at 0 degrees. However, the weight of the head significantly increases when it is tilted forward. For example, at a 15-degree angle, the head weighs 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it weighs 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it weighs 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it weighs a whopping 60 pounds. Looking down at a phone, tablet, or computer screen creates an increased angle, putting extra strain on the neck muscles. This added stress causes an imbalance in muscle activation, leading to increased strain on specific muscles. Over time, this increased stress becomes painful and reduces functional ability.

Symptoms associated with Tech Neck:

  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Neck spasms
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Difficulty looking up or down
  • Jaw pain caused by misalignment of the cervical spine
  • Tingling pain and numbness in the arms and hands, resulting from spinal nerve irritation and inflammation.

Treatment Options for Tech Neck:

The treatment for Tech Neck varies based on the severity and symptoms. Developing good postural habits is crucial to reduce muscle stress. Applying heat or getting a massage improves circulation, loosens tissues, and reduces pain. Ice reduces inflammation and improves joint mobility. Guided physical therapy educates individuals on preventing future occurrences, treats muscle spasms and joint misalignments through manual techniques and modalities, and enhances movement patterns with strengthening and range of motion exercises.

Maintaining Proper Ergonomics in Sedentary Jobs

Proper ergonomics are crucial in preventing Tech Neck. For individuals with sedentary jobs, it's vital to regularly walk around or change positions every 15-30 minutes. A standing desk can be beneficial if maintained with proper positioning and without any compensatory movements like elevating or rounding the shoulders (refer to the diagrams below for proper ergonomics).

Exercises to Increase Mobility and Decrease Pain

Chin Tuck:

Begin by lying on your back with your neck relaxed. Tuck your chin directly backward as if you are making a double chin. Hold, then relax and repeat.

Tip: Make sure not to lift your head from the ground.

Cervical Rotation:

Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and your head on a pillow. Slowly turn your head to one side, then return to the starting position, and turn your head to the other side. Repeat.

Tip: Make sure to keep your neck relaxed and move slowly.

Upper Trapezius Stretch:

Begin by sitting upright on a table grasping the edge with one hand (the hand on the same side as the pain). Turn your head toward the side with your straight arm, then bend your neck sideways to your opposite shoulder. You should feel a stretch in the side of your neck and upper back.

Tip: Make sure to keep your back straight during the exercise.

Levator Scapulae Stretch:

Begin by sitting upright in a chair, grasping the edge with one hand. Rotate your head to the side opposite your anchored arm, then tuck your chin towards your chest. You should feel a stretch on the back of your neck and above your shoulder blade.

Tip: Make sure to keep your back straight during the exercise.

Pec Stretch:

Begin in a standing upright position in the center of a doorway. With your elbows bent, place your forearms on the sides of the doorway at a 90-degree angle from your sides, then take a small step forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your shoulders. Hold this position.

Tip: Make sure to maintain a gentle stretch and do not shrug your shoulders during the exercise.

In order to prioritize optimal neck health, it is imperative for individuals to adopt appropriate ergonomic practices and integrate neck-strengthening exercises into their daily routines. By collectively addressing the issue of Tech Neck, we can strive towards a future that is both pain-free and conducive to productivity.

Thank you to Christopher Moore, PT, DPT from OrthoCarolina Matthews Physical Therapy for providing this blog information!

1. NewYork-Presbyterian (2023).Tips to prevent ‘teck neck’ and other pain from technology use. Health Matters.

2. Michels, John S. (2023). What is Tech Neck?. Interventional Pain Management.

3. Millhone, Carley. (2023, May 24). What Is Tech Neck and How to Prevent It. Wellness.

4. (2023, September 10) URL:

This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. If you are seeking specific orthopedic advice or assistance, please consult with your OrthoCarolina physician or locate one in your area through OrthoCarolina’s website at

View Transcription

Leave a Comment