Open Accessibility Menu

Tech Neck: How to Fix Forward Head Posture

  • Posted On:

Freeze! Don’t move a muscle. Right now, as you’re reading this, do a quick body check. Think about where your head is! Chances are, you are leaning your head forward. While so many of us do it, this pose could have long-term effects on your spine and overall health.

What is Tech Neck / Forward Head Posture (FHP)?

Forward head posture (FHP), also known as tech neck or nerd neck, is a condition in which the head tilts forward and the chin juts out. This can cause pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and back, as well as headaches, migraines, and fatigue. Forward head posture is one of the most common incorrect posture positions seen by medical experts.

Forward Head Posture Symptoms

This unnecessary pressure on the neck and cervical spine will cause various symptoms of forward head posture, including headaches, stiffness/muscle tension in the neck, shoulder, upper back pain, and balance issues. When left untreated, there are additional health problems that may present. In the truest sense of the word, FHP may also cause a trickle-down effect burdening other body parts. Pain management specialists have seen FHP cause compression of the cervical vertebrae, including disc issues and pain leading to the middle and lower back. FHP can cause issues in your jaw, like TMJ, and it could even lead to breathing issues due to weakened respiratory muscles.

Common symptoms of forward head posture include:

  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased range of motion in the neck
  • Upper back tightness
  • Difficulty concentrating

Forward Head Posture Causes

The world is in front of us, and we crane our necks to see it more clearly. Forward head posture is a very 21st-century type of ailment. The most common cause of forward head posture is overuse of electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. When we use these devices, we tend to tilt our heads forward to look at the screen. This can put a lot of strain on the neck muscles and lead to FHP over time. We don’t even realize we are doing it.

It’s become very prevalent with younger “gamers” because they spend hours in front of the screen, which strains their neck muscles. However, forward neck posture or forward head posture can be associated with many activities that place undue pressure on the head, neck, and spine, such as driving, sewing, carrying a heavy backpack or purse, slouching/rounded shoulders, sleeping with your head too high on too many pillows, and reading in bed.

The reason these unnatural positions and overburdened muscles are problematic is that our heads are heavy. Heads typically weigh anywhere from 10 to 14 pounds. If the head is comfortably positioned in a healthy position as it is designed to be, there is no issue. However, when we overwork our muscles in the neck and upper back trying to compensate for this unnatural position of the head sitting more forward than it should there is excessive overwork on the ligaments, muscles, and joints in the upper spine.

Every time our neck inches farther forward, the impact causes even more pressure on the strained neck and shoulders. The anatomical design of the body does not account for misalignment. The workload was not designed for forward head posture, and thus, pain is triggered.

Other causes of forward head posture include:

  • Poor posture while sitting or standing
  • Weak neck muscles
  • Tight chest muscles
  • Injuries to the neck or shoulders
  • Certain medical conditions, such as arthritis or osteoporosis

How to Fix Tech Neck / Forward Head Posture

Forward head posture is a very “fixable” condition. An ounce of prevention goes a long way. The best advice to remedy forward head posture is to be aware of your posture and make corrections.

Remember when Mom told you to sit up straight and watch your posture? She was right. If you are spending too many hours in front of electronic devices, a study done by the US Department of Labor says taking frequent breaks to stretch and creating an ergonomically designed workplace could improve your condition. Work productivity can also be greatly affected by chronic pain conditions like FHP.

The best way to fix tech neck is to improve your posture and strengthen the muscles in your neck and upper back.

Additional tips to help with Tech Neck / Forward Head Posture

  • Raise your devices to eye level. When using electronic devices, hold them up so you don't have to tilt your head forward. This will help to reduce the strain on your neck muscles.
  • Take breaks. Get up and move around every 20-30 minutes to avoid sitting in the same position for too long.
  • Stretch your neck and shoulders. There are many different stretches that you can do to help improve your neck and shoulder flexibility. Here are a few examples:
    • Chin tuck: Sit or stand with your back straight. Gently tuck your chin towards your chest and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
    • Neck stretch: Gently tilt your head to the right side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
    • Shoulder roll: Slowly roll your shoulders forward and then backward 10 times.
  • Neck strengthening exercises:
    • Isometric neck exercises: Hold your head in a neutral position and then push against the resistance of your hand or a resistance band. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.
    • Dynamic neck exercises: Slowly move your head through a range of motion, including forward, backward, side-to-side, and rotational movements. Repeat 10 times in each direction
  • Upper back strengthening exercises:
    • Rows: Pull a resistance band or dumbbells towards your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.
    • Pull-ups: Hang from a pull-up bar and pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar. Slowly lower yourself back down. Repeat as many times as possible.

Physical therapy can help with this condition under correct instruction. However, it is important to seek the guidance of a pain management specialist for an accurate diagnosis. Any number of other problems could cause your neck and shoulder pain. The best way to fix neck posture for long-term results is to visit a National Spine & Pain Centers affiliated pain management specialist. They will develop a treatment plan to ease your pain by getting to the root of the problem.

Find a National Spine & Pain Centers affiliated location today.

Take a Moment to Request Your Appointment Now

Just take a few seconds to fill out this form, and send your request so that our team can get you scheduled.

Personal Information
  • * Indicates Required Field
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your name.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
    Please enter your phone number.
    You entered an invalid number.
  • This isn't a valid email address.
    Please enter your email address.
  • Please make a selection.
    Please make a selection.