13 Tips & Exercises to Prevent Tech Neck Pain


Every day I ride the R train into Manhattan, and I cringe as I watch everyone’s posture with their cell phones. The amount of patients we treat with neck pain has increased steadily over the last few years, and I believe cell phones have played a huge part in this problem. I use a cell phone daily as well; however, you have to be careful about HOW you use your device.

Chances are, you’ve experienced tech neck pain at some point in your life. After all, 62 percent of American adults use their smartphones for more than two hours a day!

Whether you’re scrolling through Facebook or reading the news, the prolonged strain on your neck can lead to stiffness and discomfort.

But don’t worry – in this eye-opening guide, we’ll provide 13 simple ways that anyone can use – no matter their age or fitness level-to help keep their spine healthy and happy while still enjoying all the benefits technology offers today’s modern society.

Even if you don’t have pain or discomfort now, it’s essential to be aware of the risks associated with extended periods of screen time. By making some simple changes to your daily habits, you can help prevent tech neck from happening in the first place.

Before we get into how to prevent tech neck pain, let’s first look at what it is.

What is tech neck?

Tech neck is a term used to describe the pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders due to extended periods spent looking down at electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets. The condition is sometimes referred to as “text neck” or “computer neck.”

While tech neck can affect people of all ages, it’s becoming increasingly common in young adults and children who spend a lot of time looking at screens. A study published in the journal Surgical Technology International found that the number of children and adolescents seeking treatment for tech neck pain has been rising in recent years.

Does tech neck go away?

The good news is that this condition is fixable and reversible. In most cases, the pain will go away with time and rest, and most people will improve with conservative treatment, such as rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medication.

However, if tech neck is not taken care of, it can lead to more severe health problems.

Some of the negative impacts associated with tech neck are:

  • Stiff neck

  • Pain in the neck and shoulder muscles

  • Pains when you tilt your head forward

  • Headaches

  • Pain between shoulder blades

  • TMJ problems (jaw pain)

The pain may be dull and achy or sharp and throbbing. It may come and go, but it will likely worsen with time if not treated.

Untreated tech neck will cause severe symptoms, including;

  • Numbness or tingling in the arms due to a pinched nerve

  • Tightening of the upper back muscles

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle tension or Muscle weakness

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Loss of balance

  • Headaches

  • Poor posture

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Degenerative disc disease

These symptoms can last for days, weeks, or even months.

How does tech neck affect the cervical spine?

This condition can affect the cervical spine because your head is not in a neutral position when you’re looking down at screens. This can put extra strain on the muscles and ligaments in your upper body and lead to pain.

The cervical spine is the part of your spine that’s in your neck. It’s made up of seven small bones, called vertebrae, stacked on top of each other. The cervical spine supports your head and allows you to move your head around. When you have a tech neck, the disks in your cervical spine can become damaged, compressed, or ruptured. A ruptured disc pinches the nerves, leading to upper back pain. It can also cause tingling or numbness in the neck, shoulders, arms, and hands.

Text neck can also cause other problems, such as headaches, because of the strain on the muscles and ligaments. It can also lead to changes in the alignment of your spine over time, and ultimately you may require spine surgery to correct the alignment.

How can you relieve tech neck?

In most cases, you can treat text neck with conservative measures, such as:

  • Rest

  • Ice

  • Over-the-counter pain medication

  • Physical therapy

  • Exercises to stretch and strengthen the neck muscles

  • Posture correction

If your symptoms are severe or don’t improve with conservative treatment, you will need a text neck evaluation from a healthcare professional to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. A spine specialist can provide more advanced treatments, such as:

  • Corticosteroid injections

  • Botox injections

  • Spine surgery

13 Tips and exercises

Here are thirteen tips and exercises that should help!

1. Practice good posture. 

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s essential to maintain good posture while using your smartphone or other electronic devices. When sitting at a computer, it’s essential to maintain good posture.

2. Avoid slouching!

Sit up straight with your shoulders back and down. Position the screen so that it’s at eye level, and use a keyboard and mouse that are within easy reach.

Keep your shoulders relaxed and your back straight when looking down at your screen. This will help reduce the amount of strain on your neck and shoulders.

3. Take breaks often

It’s essential to give your neck and shoulders a break from looking down at your screen. Aim to take a break every 20 minutes or so. Get up and walk around for a few minutes. This will help reduce muscle tension and increase blood flow to the area.

4. Adjust your screen height

One of the simplest ways to reduce strain on your neck is to adjust the height of your screen. If you’re using a laptop, prop it up on a few books so that the screen is at eye level. Try using a hands-free device such as a Bluetooth headset or speaker for a smartphone.

5. Ergonomics

Make sure your workstation is set up ergonomically. Everything you need should be within easy reach, so you don’t have to strain your neck.

6. Stretch your neck and shoulders

Stretching is a great way to relieve tension in the neck and shoulders. Try doing simple stretches and exercises like side bends, head turns, shoulder rolls or neck tilts several times a day.

7. Do strengthening exercises

Strengthening your neck and shoulders muscles can help reduce pain and prevent further injury. You can do several exercises at home, such as neck bridges and shoulder shrugs.

8. Get a massage

A professional massage can do wonders for tech neck pain. A therapist will be able to target the specific muscles that are causing you discomfort and provide relief.

9. Use heat or ice

Applying heat or ice to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation. Try using a heating pad set on low for 15-20 minutes or placing an ice pack on your neck for 10-15 minutes.

10. Try CBD oil

CBD oil is a natural remedy shown to be effective for pain relief. It’s thought to work by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate pain and inflammation.

11. Get acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points. It’s thought to help relieve pain by stimulating the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals.

12. Use posture correctors

If you find it challenging to maintain good posture, posture correctors can help. These devices are worn around the shoulders and back and work to remind you to keep your spine in alignment.

13. See a doctor or chiropractor

If your neck and shoulder pain is severe or persists despite self-care, it’s time to see a doctor or chiropractor. They can recommend other appropriate treatments, such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, injections, surgery, etc.

How can you prevent tech neck?

1. Yoga

To prevent this condition, aim to do some yoga stretches every day for at least 10 minutes. You can do the morning or evening, depending on when you have the most time. If you can’t fit in a full 10 minutes at once, try doing 5 minutes twice a day.

2. Exercise

Doing aerobic exercise can help you feel more energetic. It also helps relieve tired muscles. You can do strengthening and stretching exercises at home or the gym. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. This could include

  • Walking for at least 20 minutes per day,

  • Swimming for at least 15 minutes per day

  • Biking (stationary or outdoors)for at least 10 minutes per day,

  • Running for at least 8 minutes per day.

  • Chest opening exercises such as Cobra Pose or Upward Dog Pose will help prevent muscle imbalances associated with forward head posture.

  • Nod your head “yes” and “no” 10 times each

  • Shoulder rolls- forward and backward

  • Ear to shoulder stretch

  • Knee to chest stretch

  • Pigeon neck stretch

  • Postural correction/spinal decompression

  • Pilates for at least 10 minutes per day

  • Tai Chi for at least 10 minutes per day

How to do strengthening Exercises like planks:

Planks are a great way to strengthen your core muscles, which can help improve your posture. To do a plank;

  • Get into a push-up position and then rest on your forearms instead of your hands.

  • Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

You can also try other exercises that work your core muscles, such as crunches, sit-ups, and side planks.

How to do stretching exercises such as shoulder rolls:

Shoulder rolls are a simple way to stretch your shoulders and neck;

  • Sit up straight and then slowly roll your shoulders forward 10 times.

  • Then reverse the motion and roll your shoulders backward 10 times.

You can also try other stretches, such as neck rolls and side bends.

3. Sleep

A good night’s sleep is essential for overall health, and it can also help reduce the risk of developing tech neck. Shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Limit screen time in the hours leading up to bedtime.

4. Limit time spent looking down

Make an effort to limit the amount of time you spend looking down at your phone or computer screen. Take breaks every 20 minutes or so to look up and around. And when you can, hold your phone or device at eye level instead of looking down at it.

When should you see a doctor?

It is a warning sign if you feel aches around your neck area for long periods. Listen to your body and act quickly. A doctor can also help you rule out other possible causes of your neck discomfort. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor right away:

  • Pain that radiates into your arms or legs

  • Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs

  • Weakness in your arms or legs

  • Difficulty walking or standing

  • A change in your ability to see, hear or speak


While tech neck pain is a common problem, it doesn’t have to be permanent. You can reduce your pain and prevent further injury with the proper self-care routine. There are several benefits to avoiding tech neck.

First, following the tips mentioned above and exercises can help you maintain good posture and reduce muscle tension. This, in turn, can help prevent pain and discomfort in your neck and shoulders.

Second, getting regular massages can also help relieve tension and pain.

Third, using an ergonomic pillow can help support your head and neck in a neutral position, which can help reduce strain on your spine.

Finally, limiting the amount of time you spend looking down at your phone or computer screen can help prevent tech neck.

Fit Club NY is a place where you can go to work out. Our physical therapists will help you strengthen your neck muscles and improve your posture with exercises to avoid body pains. We also offer massage therapy to help relieve pain and tension. If you are suffering from tech neck, we can help you find relief.

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