Text Neck: Your Cell Phone Might Be Causing Your Neck Pain!

A business man on a laptop and talking on a cell phone experiencing neck pain.

Are you reading this on a smart phone or computer? How’s your posture?

You probably weren’t even thinking about your posture, but it’s time to start. If you’re suffering with neck or spinal pain, one possible cause could be text neck.

What is Text Neck?

According to WebMD, text neck syndrome (or text neck) “occurs when your neck muscles strain to hold your head up as you look down at your phone. Your muscles can become tired and sore the longer you hold your head in this position.”

In other words, looking down at your phone causes you to be in a forward head position, but you can also assume this posture when looking at a computer screen if it’s not ergonomically setup correctly.

We’ve all heard funny stories of people walking into walls, street signs and other people because they’re so focused on their phones they aren’t watching where they’re going. This reliance on technology has put us at greater risk for injury – and not just from accidents. What we don’t often consider is the strain we’re putting on our bodies when we contort ourselves in unnatural ways to read texts and check out social media.

Now more than ever, we are endlessly scrolling (or as some like to call it- “doom scrolling”). Being in this posture for an extended amount of time can cause neck pain, as well as other problems, including:

  • Pinched nerves
  • Headaches
  • Stiffness
  • Future spinal problems, including spinal deterioration
  • Text neck lump

The Impact on Your Neck

The average head weighs 11 pounds, but when the head is in a forward position, it can create up to 60 pounds of force on your neck.

Diagram showing how the more tilted your head is, the more pressure on your neck. Text neck can create up to 60 pounds of pressure on your spine.

Yikes! If you’re experiencing neck pain, text neck could be playing a role along with other factors. The good news is that paying more attention to your posture and the position of your head can help to prevent text neck. Good posture will help to prevent other aches and pains from occurring as well.

How to Treat and Prevent Text Neck

Brian Greer, physical therapist and certified McKenzie Method diplmoat, assessing neck pain of male patient

If you’re experiencing neck pain, you should schedule an evaluation with a physical therapist. They’ll be able to identify the root cause(s) of your pain and create a treatment program for you to start feeling better.

There are some steps you can take at home to treat minor text neck and help prevent it from occurring. Because text neck is caused by poor posture, adapting better posture will help to prevent text neck.

Tips to Improve Your Posture when Using Your Phone:

A girl sits on a chair bent and straightened, reading the smartphone. Correct and incorrect sitting position. Slouching back. A posture before and after, changing. Healthy spine vector illustration

  • Raise your phone closer to eye level
  • Keep your chin tucked, shoulders pulled back, and body aligned in a neutral position

Tips to Improve Your Posture at a Desk

Correct sitting and standing posture when using a computer silhouette

  • Keep your back and shoulders stacked in a neutral position
  • Your screen should be at an appropriate height and distance from your eyes

Tips to Avoid Text Neck

  • Take breaks from your phone
  • Stretch your neck and shoulder muscles
  • Exercise regularly
  • Perform specific exercises such as neck retraction

For more information about neck pain, check out this video from Brian Greer, Partner & Director at PTSMC Glastonbury, who is a Diplomat of the McKenzie Method. The McKenzie Method is a world-renowned, exercise-based approach to assessing and treating pain, that puts the power of recovery in patients’ hands.


Learn how the McKenzie Method can be used to identify and treat spine pain.

If you’re experiencing any aches or pains, give one of our clinics a call so that you can start feeling better!