Tech Neck Gotcha Down?
Ah, Tech Neck, my old friend. You seem to crop up everywhere I go: my desk, my car, my kitchen table, my kids playroom. You cause me unnecessary strain and stiffness. Yet, somehow, I can’t quit you!
Tech Neck is the phenomenon that happens when you crane your neck forward and down for extended periods of time. It’s often associated with people looking down at their phones or computers, hence the “tech.” It causes unnecessary strain and tension in the muscles of the neck that can lead to stiffness and soreness. Next time you’re out in a public space pause and do some people watching. I guarantee you will find multiple people leaning their heads down into their phones. Once you start noticing it, it will be hard to unsee! It’s everywhere. Even in your own home.
At Unfold, neck pain is one of the most common issues we hear about from our clients, in addition to lower back pain. Most of our students sit at a desk the majority of their day, so this is no surprise to us. This article says, “in 2012, neck pain was responsible for job absences among 25.5 million Americans, who missed an average of 11.4 days of work.” Not only does Tech Neck cause pain, it also decreases productivity. Lose-Lose.
When your head is stacked nicely over your shoulders, your whole body bears the brunt of that big noggin of yours. The average adult head weighs 11 lbs. But when you jut your head forward, that 11 lbs pulls down on your neck and strains the muscles. It’s as if the neck is bearing 50-60lbs by having to resist the force of gravity on the head pulling down.
So what can be done? As always in our teachings observation comes first. Become aware of the times you are leaning your head forward. Observe how it feels. Learn to observe without judgement.
Then, you can take action. In the moment, you can reset your posture. My favorite way to do this is to root down through your hips, shrug your shoulders up to your ears and sit a little taller as you take a big breath in, as you exhale roll your shoulders back and down. It feels good. It’s easy. It’s quick. And it can have a big impact.
You can also take preventative action. My latest 10-Minute Tune-Up will show you how to align your spine and strengthen your neck muscles. This will help you rewind some of the effects that years of Tech Neck can have on your body.
Lastly, you can alter your environment to fit your body. If you are sitting at your desk and craning your neck down to look at your screen you might want to raise your screen to sit at eye level. This might involve placing your monitor on a box or purchasing some new office equipment. You might also try leaning back in your chair a bit to make your eyes level with the screen. If you’re constantly looking down at your phone, you can train yourself to raise your phone to your eye level. Starting new habits is hard, though, so you might want to join our membership program or subscribe to receive our free weekly 10-Minute Tune-Ups to help you with that. :)
Good luck. Keep up the fight against Tech Neck!
See ya online,
Nicole Elipas Doherty
Co-Founder + CEO