What is Tech-Neck?

Tech-neck was coined in the early 2010s, also known as text neck or smartphone neck, and is a condition that results from prolonged use of electronic devices, particularly smartphones and tablets, with poor posture. It causes neck pain and stiffness, as well as potential causing headaches, shoulder pain, upper back pain, and long-term damage to the neck and spine. Tech-neck is becoming increasingly common, particularly among professionals who spend long hours looking down at electronic devices for extended periods. This blog will discuss the causes of tech-neck and how to prevent and treat it.

What Causes Tech-Neck?

One of the leading causes of tech-neck is poor posture while using electronic devices. When we look down at our screens for extended periods, our neck is forced into a forward and downward position, leading to muscle strain and tension from the muscles working harder to maintain balance. This condition is especially true if we are not sitting in a proper ergonomic position, which can further exacerbate the strain on our neck muscles. In addition to electronic devices, other causes of tech-neck can be activities such as reading, writing, or working at a desk for extended periods. It can also result from carrying heavy bags on one shoulder or using a poorly designed workstation.

Symptoms of Tech-Neck

The symptoms of tech-neck can vary, but common signs include the following:

  • Pain and discomfort in the neck, shoulders, and upper back
  • Headaches
  • Tension in the neck and shoulder muscles
  • Reduced range of motion in the neck
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or hands

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential to seek medical attention to determine the cause and receive appropriate treatment.

Preventing Tech-Neck

There are several steps you can take to prevent tech-neck and maintain good posture while using electronic devices:

  • Hold your device at eye level. Instead of looking down at your phone or laptop, try to hold it at eye level so that your neck is in a neutral position. This posture includes sitting up straight with our feet flat on the ground. This posture can help reduce strain on the neck muscles.
  • It is essential to take breaks from electronic devices and rest your neck and eyes. Try to take a break every 20-30 minutes to stretch, move around, and look away from your screen, giving your eyes a chance to rest. Setting reminders to take breaks can be helpful.
  • Use a stand or prop your device up. It can help reduce your time looking down at it. Check your workstation setup: Make sure your desk and chair are at the correct height, and your computer monitor is at eye level. Investing in an ergonomic chair and desk setup is also a good idea. This setup can help reduce neck strain and improve working posture.

Treating Tech-Neck

If you are already experiencing tech-neck, there are several things you can do to help relieve the pain and discomfort:

  • First and foremost, it is crucial to address any underlying issues with our posture and ergonomic setup. These issues may involve making adjustments to our chair or desk or seeking the advice of an ergonomics specialist.
  • Take breaks! As mentioned above, taking breaks from electronic devices and resting your neck and eyes is essential.
  • Stretch! Stretching your neck muscles can help relieve tension and improve flexibility. These include neck stretches, shoulder rolls, and upper back stretches. It is also a good idea to incorporate regular exercise into our routine, as this can strengthen the muscles in our neck and upper back.
  • Another effective treatment for tech-neck is massage therapy. Massage can help to relax tense muscles and improve circulation, which can help to reduce pain and stiffness. If we cannot see a massage therapist, we can also try using a foam roller or massage ball to self-massage our neck and upper back.
  • Finally, paying attention to our overall health and well-being is essential. These changes include getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and managing stress. All of these factors can contribute to neck pain and stiffness, and taking care of ourselves can help to prevent and treat tech-neck.


In conclusion, tech-neck is a common condition that results from prolonged use of electronic devices with poor posture. To prevent us from developing tech-neck, we should pay attention to our posture, take breaks from our devices, and invest in an ergonomic setup. If we are already experiencing tech-neck, there are several things we can do to treat it, including addressing any underlying issues, exercising, and incorporating massage therapy into our routine. Finally, paying attention to our overall health and well-being can also help to prevent and treat tech-neck.

Croft Castrell is the owner of Castrell Neuromuscular Therapy. He has been in private practice since 2015.

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