What is Tech Neck?
Tech Neck posture definition:
Tech neck, also known as forward head posture or text neck, is a posture term used to describe the position of the head when it is extended forward and tilted downward, typically due to the excessive use of electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Best observed in the side view, tech neck is characterized by a misalignment between the head and the shoulders, with the ears positioned in front of the shoulder line. With forward head posture, additional strain is placed on the cervical spine, muscles, and ligaments, and can lead to various musculoskeletal issues.
The degree of tech neck is determined by assessing the alignment of the ear, shoulder, and hip joints in the sagittal plane, as well as the angle between the line of the cervical spine and a vertical line through the shoulder.
The anatomy of tech neck involves a combination of factors that contribute to the forward head posture, including muscle imbalances, ligament laxity, and poor postural habits.
Shortened muscles include the suboccipital muscles, sternocleidomastoid, levator scapulae, and upper trapezius.
Lengthened muscles include the deep neck flexors, such as longus capitis and longus colli, as well as the lower trapezius and rhomboids.
Many muscles and their attachments extend down from the cervical spine to the thoracic spine., As such, the position of the thoracic spine, shoulders, lumbar spine, pelvis, and lower extremities play a critical role in balancing tech neck.
- Neck pain: Tech neck can contribute to neck pain, tension headaches, and muscle stiffness due to the excessive strain placed on the cervical spine and surrounding soft tissues.
- Upper back pain: The forward head posture can lead to increased stress on the thoracic spine, potentially causing upper back pain, discomfort, and tightness.
- Shoulder pain: Tech neck can contribute to shoulder pain and impingement due to the altered positioning of the scapula and muscle imbalances in the shoulder girdle.
- Degenerative changes: Prolonged tech neck can cause premature degenerative changes in the cervical spine, such as disc herniations and osteoarthritis.
- Nerve impingement: Altered alignment of the cervical spine in tech neck increases the risk of nerve impingement, potentially leading to symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms and hands.
- Poor posture: Tech neck is often observed with rounded shoulders and a slouched posture (kyphosis), which can further contribute to muscle imbalances, pain, and discomfort throughout the body.
- Decreased athletic performance: Tech neck negatively impacts an individual's balance, stability, and overall physical performance, particularly in activities that require optimal cervical spine mobility and alignment.
Addressing tech neck through targeted exercises, stretches, and posture therapy can help alleviate these issues and improve overall body alignment.