Osteopathy for: Tech Neck

Do I have tech neck and what can I do about it? – by Emma Le Roux – Registered Osteopath & Movement Teacher

Tech Neck is where the neck or cervical spine is being placed forwards relative to rest of the spine. This causes the muscles that hold your head upright to become aggravated, tired and painful.

The human spine resembles an ‘S’ curvature around our muscles and organs.

As you might guess, when you’re constantly looking at a phone or laptop, your neck leans forwards. This aggravates and tires our neck & chest muscles, and can lead to discomfort, pain, poor digestion, sleep and concentration.

Firstly, let’s take a look at a very common posture – forward head carriage or FHC. FHC is where the head is projected forwards of the neck, usually due to habits i.e., desk-based posture, driving, using devices (it can of course also be caused by other reasons e.g. rheumatological conditions, which we won’t be covering). FHC for extended periods of time can cause pain local to the neck but can also impact other areas of our bodies causing movement compensations and pain in other regions including upper back strains, breathing dysfunctions and headaches.

Now consider this; the head weighs around 5kg. Each time your head comes forwards 30 degrees, you’re loading your neck with an additional 18kg! Typical ‘Tech Neck’, posture can cause up to 28kg of excess stress on your neck muscles, joints and nerves – ouch!

Forward Head Carriage causes excess weight on your neck

Tip 1: The Phone-to-Face rule  

It’s obvious, but easily forgotten! Hold your phone up at eye level as much as possible. Set a reminder on your phones home screen to help maintain better posture.

Tip 2: Regularly stretch and mobilise your neck, upper back and shoulders.

Stand up and move around every 20-30 minutes from your desk. Even just a few minutes of moving can help by giving your body some much needed movement.

Tip 3: Check your workplace set up

A supportive chair, correct screen height and arm rests can make you less prone to injury while boosting your productivity and well-being.

Tip 4: Have a glass of water

Aim for 2-3 litres per day, more when you exercise. Dehydration can add to painful muscles and joints, headaches, poor sleep and problems concentrating.

Tip 5: Assess your posture

Check in with your osteopath to loosen up overly tight muscles, and reduce inflammation. In many cases, they can recommend exercises or refer you to someone qualified in exercise or movement therapy.

For an osteopathic posture assessment or a personalised yoga session (at any level!), you can book in with me

– Emma Le Roux

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