I Have Tech Neck, and You Probably Do Too

For most of my life, I have been self-conscious about the way the back of my neck looks. I have a slightly hunched back, even when I’m standing up as straight as I can. At first I thought I just needed to accept that my body naturally looks that way, but over the past few months I have become aware of what is known as “Tech Neck.” Tech Neck occurs when we lean over our phones, putting up to fifty additional pounds of pressure onto our upper back. Our spines were not made to support that amount of weight, and so over time the density of the bones in the upper back increases to support the sudden pressure.

But texting is not the only cause of Tech Neck. Once I realized that simply looking down for extended periods of time was the problem, I started to notice that I spend a lot of my life looking downwards: I look at my feet when I walk, hunch over books when I read (which is often, since I’m an English Lit major), put my nose a centimeter away from the page when I take notes, and slouch when writing essays. So yes, I have some major Tech Neck, and I wager a lot of people – particularly college students and young professionals – do as well.

Here are some ways to correct and prevent Tech Neck at home – no chiropractor needed.

  1. Look at your phone like a mom. Hold it up at eye level instead of keeping your arms at your sides. This will allow your spine to properly support the wight of your head without straining.
  2. Do some neck stretches. These are fairly rudimentary, but incredibly effective. For the first one, stand up straight and lean your head back as far as it will go, and then apply pressure to your forehead using your palm to stretch your neck even further back. Now do the opposite; push your chin down into your neck and apply pressure to the back of your head. After these stretches, let the weight of your head fall to the right side and the left side, but do not force it to go farther. You should feel a stretch in the muscles joining your shoulders and neck. 
  3. Do yoga daily. It doesn’t have to be much, but yoga really does help to realign your spine and your hips so your bones can adequately support the weight of your body. Visit this site for some chiropractor-approved stretches.