Have you heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking”? Well, one of the issues with sitting all day is
what we are sitting and doing. Typically sitting is done in front of a computer, tablet, or cell phone. The
posture that is used for these devices tends to be one that leads to tight muscles and aches and pains.
When we sit with a tablet or cellphone in our lap, we have our head tilted down and forward. Also, the
arms come forward and turn inward. The thumb joints can become stressed from overuse of texting or
typing. These things combined stress the muscles of the upper back and neck. This muscle tension can
lead to headaches, and pain. Forward head posture leads to 10x more pressure on the back of the neck
and upper back.
This is not to say that we all must give up our devices, although limiting time spent in the digital world is
never a bad idea, the pain associates with “tech neck” can be avoided by adjusting our posture and
Some simple guidelines include:
1. Bring the head and neck into a neutral position- this means keeping the chin parallel with the
floor, not pointing at it. Also, the head should be tucked back into a position in which the
openings for the ears are over the tops of the shoulders.
2. Keep your device at eye level. You may need to raise up your computer monitor up or simply
hold your phone or tablet up to meet your eyes.
3. Take frequent breaks. Your ligaments shorten after 20 minutes in a position. Therefore, if
sitting on your device for long periods of time the ligaments shorten and this forward head with
rounded forward shoulders begins to become our regular posture. Taking frequent breaks helps
to combat any changes in posture.