Tech Neck

Bottom Line:

Smartphones and tablets have quickly become a part of our everyday life. Many kids spend hours per day messaging with friends and playing the latest games. Often, it’s done with their neck bent forward, shoulders rounded, and arms holding the phone up in front of their eyes. New research has shown this type of awkward position can lead to a painful condition called “Tech Neck.”

Why it Matters:

Recently, Scientific Reports published a shocking paper which found a “horn” growing off the back of the head of kids who spent a great deal of time on their cell phones and tablets. This extreme variation of Tech Neck is suspected to be caused by constant pressure placed on the back of the head (the occiput) when the head is bent forward and chin is tucked. The excessive force can result in calcification of the soft tissue, which can start to look like a “horn” growing out of the back of the head! Did you know…

  • Kids may be spending up to 1400 hours per year in positions that cause tech neck.
  • Even 15 degrees of forward tilt can triple the weight of the head and stress on the spine.
  • Taking a break from mobile devices every 15 minutes can help reduce the likelihood of neck pain and headaches.

Next Steps:

Spending time on your favorite devices doesn’t mean that you start growing horns tomorrow. However, it does give an example of how and why we need to be smart about our posture and positioning when using our mobile devices. Encouraging your children to take a break and stretch is one of the best (and easiest) ways to break the bad habits that can lead to Tech Neck. If you have any questions, just ask!

Science Source: Prominent exostosis projecting from the occipital squama more substantial and prevalent in young adult than older age groups. Scientific Reports 2018