Text Neck


Text neck, also known as tech neck or forward head posture, is a modern musculoskeletal condition characterised by excessive strain on the neck and upper spine due to prolonged use of electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. This condition can lead to a range of symptoms, including neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and postural abnormalities.


Text neck occurs when the head is consistently held in a forward position, causing increased stress on the muscles, ligaments, and vertebrae of the cervical spine. The normal curvature of the neck becomes flattened or reversed, leading to muscle imbalances and structural changes that contribute to pain and discomfort.


Text neck is primarily caused by the repetitive use of electronic devices with the head in a downward or forward position. Factors contributing to text neck include:

  • Prolonged device use: Spending extended periods looking down at a smartphone, tablet, or laptop screen can strain the muscles of the neck and upper back, leading to muscle fatigue and tension.
  • Poor posture habits: Habitual slouching or forward head posture while using electronic devices can exacerbate the effects of text neck and increase the risk of developing musculoskeletal symptoms.
  • Increased screen time: The widespread use of electronic devices for work, communication, and leisure activities has led to an increase in screen time, contributing to the prevalence of text neck among individuals of all ages.


Symptoms of text neck may include:

  • Neck pain: Dull, achy discomfort in the neck region, often exacerbated by prolonged device use or certain movements.
  • Stiffness: Tightness or tension in the neck and upper back muscles, making it difficult to move the head and shoulders freely.
  • Headaches: Tension headaches or cervicogenic headaches, characterised by pain that radiates from the neck into the head, may occur as a result of muscle strain and postural imbalances.
  • Shoulder pain: Discomfort or soreness in the shoulders, particularly the upper trapezius muscles, due to increased muscle tension and fatigue.
  • Postural changes: Forward head posture, rounded shoulders, and a loss of the normal cervical curvature may develop over time as a result of text neck.

Diagnosis and Tests:

Diagnosis of text neck is based on a thorough evaluation of symptoms, posture, and medical history by a healthcare provider or musculoskeletal specialist. Imaging studies such as X-rays or MRI scans may be ordered to assess the extent of structural changes or degenerative alterations in the cervical spine.


Treatment options for text neck may include:

  • Postural correction: Education and guidance on proper ergonomics, posture awareness, and techniques to reduce strain on the neck and upper spine during device use.
  • Stretching exercises: Targeted stretching exercises for the neck, chest, and upper back muscles to improve flexibility, alleviate muscle tension, and restore normal range of motion.
  • Strengthening exercises: Specific exercises to strengthen the muscles of the neck, upper back, and shoulders to support proper posture and reduce the risk of muscular fatigue and strain.
  • Ergonomic modifications: Adjustments to workstation setup, such as raising the screen to eye level, using a supportive chair with lumbar support, and taking regular breaks from screen time, can help alleviate strain on the neck and upper spine.


Preventive measures for text neck may include:

  • Limiting screen time: Moderating the use of electronic devices and taking frequent breaks from prolonged device use can help reduce the risk of developing text neck and associated symptoms.
  • Practising good posture: Maintaining proper posture while using electronic devices, including sitting up straight, keeping the head in a neutral position, and supporting the arms and wrists, can help minimise strain on the neck and upper spine.
  • Performing regular stretches and exercises: Incorporating daily stretching and strengthening exercises for the neck, shoulders, and upper back can help improve muscle flexibility, strength, and endurance, reducing the risk of text neck.

Outlook / Prognosis:

The outlook for individuals with text neck depends on various factors, including the severity of symptoms, adherence to treatment recommendations, and lifestyle modifications. With proactive management strategies, including postural correction, stretching, strengthening exercises, and ergonomic modifications, most individuals can experience significant improvement in symptoms and prevent recurrence of text neck in the future.

Living With:

Living with a text neck requires a proactive approach to self-care and ongoing management of posture and screen time habits. By incorporating regular breaks, practising good ergonomics, performing stretching and strengthening exercises, and maintaining awareness of posture during device use, individuals can effectively manage symptoms, prevent progression of text neck, and promote long-term musculoskeletal health and well-being. Regular follow-up appointments with a healthcare provider or musculoskeletal specialist may be recommended to monitor progress, address any changes in symptoms, and adjust treatment as needed.

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