“Tech Neck” & Headaches
The increasing use of technology in society, including smartphones, tablets, and computers, is leading to an increased prevalence of associated neck pain and other negative health effects such as chronic headaches.
“Text Neck” is a term used to describe an overuse syndrome or repetitive stress injury to the neck caused by holding your head in a forward and downward position for extended periods of time, commonly while using technology. Excessive tension is placed on the deep muscles of your neck and across the shoulders causing acute and chronic neck pain. Research from Surgical Technology International indicates increases of up to 60 pounds of force on the neck when in a flexed forward position of 60 degrees (usual position of head when using a smartphone).
A cervicogenic headache is a secondary headache caused by an underlying condition such as neck injuries. These headaches can often be confused as migraines or cluster headaches but have much different forms of treatment. People with these headaches experience neck pain and stiffness in which pain begins in the neck or back of head and can radiate towards the front.
- Reduced neck range of motion
- Worsening headache with certain head/neck movements
- Increased pain and tenderness to the touch in the neck region
Treatment: Postural adjustments, Physical therapy and an ongoing exercise regimen often produce the best outcomes compared to other treatments such as medication or nerve blocks. PTs can identify the source of pain, stimulate soft tissue, and move the joints in the neck to relieve painful symptoms.
As a final note, if you are experiencing neck discomfort or headaches when using technology feel free to contact us for more information regarding scheduling an evaluation with one of our therapists and as a friendly reminder, a prescription is no longer needed to start Physical Therapy.
Beasley, Kara. “5 Tips to Prevent Tech Neck Pain.” Spine, www.spine-health.com/blog/5-tips-prevent-tech-neck-pain.
“Cervicogenic Headache.” American Migraine Foundation, americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/cervicogenic-headache/.
Eske, Jamie. “Cervicogenic Headache: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 7 Jan. 2019, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324108.php.
Kenneth, H. (2014) Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and Position of the Head. Surgical technology international, 25, 277-279.
Miller, J, and A Wong. “Physio Works – Physiotherapy Brisbane.” Text Neck, 2019, physioworks.com.au/injuries-conditions-1/text-neck.