It is projected that more than 25 percent of all professional jobs will be remote in the United States by the end of 2022. One in five people who are working from home and tech-savvy teens will suffer from neck pain—adversely affecting their quality of life. This is now referred to as “tech neck”.
‘Tech neck’ is the term given to neck pain that comes from postural strain, which is caused by a forward head posture while looking at a computer screen or using a smart phone or tablet. Leaning your head and neck just 45 degrees forward is like putting a 50-pound weight on your head. Tech neck doesn’t just cause neck pain; it can result in headaches, tingling in the fingers, upper to mid back pain and respiratory issues.
Prevention is the key to avoiding tech neck. The following tips can help minimize the occurrence of symptoms.
- Exercise and stretching – Get up from your desk frequently and stretch your neck and back.
- Avoid screen misalignment – Adjust your monitor so it is even with your eyes. If you are texting on your phone, raise the device to head level and refrain from looking down at the device.
- Invest in ergonomic posture support – An ergonomic chair that has a head rest, a foot stool to keep your spine aligned, or a stand-up desk.
If you already have tech neck, speak to your healthcare provider about treatment options.
David BenEliyahu, DC, FICC
Administrative Director, Back & Neck Pain Center at Mather Hospital