Tech Neck – A Medieval Problem in Technology Era

There are many postural problems, dealing with issues from head to toe. I think I will take it (literally) from the top and start with Tech Neck, but before that, a note on posture.

At the heart of posture is spinal alignment, so we’ll start there.

The spine is comprised of 33 vertebrae, divided into 5 regions; cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), lumbar (lower back), sacral and coccygeal (tailbone). Each region has its own natural curve, and proper posture can be understood as the spine being aligned according to these curves.

Vertebral Column (from Wikipedia)

If we consider good posture to be our spines having the correct curves, then poor posture is simply having incorrect curves. Incorrect curvature can be one of 2 things:

  1. Too much curvature
  2. Insufficient or even reversed curvature.

In medieval times, monks suffered “scholar’s neck,” a tilting forward of the head, often in conjunction with a rounding of the shoulders. It came from hunching over hand written texts, in poor light, while sitting on wooden chairs or benches, for long periods of time.

And there is the key; “hunching over…for long periods of time.” This medieval problem has become increasingly common in the modern age. We call it forward head posture, more commonly known as Tech Neck. How common is it? I just googled “tech neck” and got 89 MILLION results:

Tech Neck Google Search

Tech neck is a flattened or even reversed cervical curve. Your jaw juts forward, and your head may tilt down. To illustrate this, from the same google search, I give you…anonymous person.

Tech Neck

While the young man’s head is level (note his eyes and chin), it is noticeably forward of his shoulders, presenting a picture perfect case of tech neck.

As the name indicates, tech neck is very common amongst heavy technology users. If you drive a computer for a living, or spend a lot of time on your phone or other hand held electronic device, you are at risk of tech neck.

Do you have headaches or migraines? Neck and upper back pain? Rounded shoulders? I found out the hard way that tech neck causes or exacerbates all of these conditions. The good news is, I also found out that fixing my tech neck fixed these problems.

If you suffer from tech neck and it’s related conditions, maybe it’s time to learn to StandUpRight.