Tech Neck Woes

April 26, 2022 – 3 min read

Share this post:

Woman clutching her neck while making a face like she is in pain with a red area colored on the image, used to explain neck pain and tech neck

How Imaging Can Correct Tech Neck Woes

Whether you’ve heard of tech neck (sometimes called text neck) or not, the neck pain caused by staring down at devices like smartphones is on the rise. A 2019 study found that around 25% of college students experienced moderate to severe neck pain. The findings noted that the pain increased the longer students used their phones every week. Additional research found adolescents with heavy device use were more likely to experience headaches, as well as neck pain.

While not all researchers agree on the severity of tech neck, there has never been a better time to take steps to prevent the condition. However, if you or a family member has ongoing neck pain, diagnostic imaging at American Health Imaging can help pinpoint if tech neck is the issue.

What Causes Tech Neck?

These days almost everyone uses some kind of handheld device daily. Whether you’re using a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop or a handheld gaming device, if you’re bending your head forward and slightly down to look at it, it increases pressure on your neck.

An average adult head weighs about 11 lbs. But if you bend your head just slightly forward at a 30-degree angle, that weight on your neck increases to almost 40 lbs. Bend your head further down to read on your phone at a 60-degree angle, and that weight is about 60 lbs.

If you are sitting like this for hours every day, that weight can cause sore and stiff necks.

Other symptoms of tech neck include pain radiating out to shoulders, arms and further down the back. Some research suggests that in children and adolescents, who still have growing bones, this posture could possibly create further problems later in life. If left untreated in adults, disc degeneration could occur.

Tech Neck Treatment and Prevention

The best treatment for tech neck is to prevent it from happening. Some easy ways to do this include:

  • Hold your phone or tablet directly in front of your face so you can sit up straight and read it.
  • Set up work and study spaces so that any devices are at eye level.
  • Swap the hands holding the device and don’t engage in prolonged hand-held typing or swiping.
  • Take breaks and stretch regularly throughout the work and school day.

Regular exercise, ice packs and over-the-counter pain relievers may also help some people with stiffness or tech neck headaches. Physical therapy may also help some.

How Imaging Can Help With Tech Neck

If your neck pain has not improved after adjusting your posture and how you hold your devices, you may need diagnostic imaging to see if something more is going on with your neck. A CT scan or MRI from the radiology experts at AHI can determine if tech neck is to blame, or if arthritis or spinal degeneration could be in play.

With centers across the Southeast and evening and weekend hours, AHI makes it easy to get diagnostic neck imaging on your schedule. Better yet, our costs are usually far more affordable than hospital imaging.

If your neck pain just won’t go away, diagnostic imaging at AHI may just be what the doctor ordered. Make an appointment today.