text neck

Text Neck – These 2 simple issues are probably causing your neck pain

Today’s blog is going to look at forward head posture or recently names text neck – and the effect it has on our neck and shoulder region.

Now – it’s quite ironic that you will likely be reading this on your phone, iPad or on a laptop with your head in a downward position!

It’s also highly likely you’ll have been doing some work today with your head looking down at your phone or computer.

There isn’t anything wrong with looking down, but you might find if you do it too much you will cause yourself some problems.

Coming through the doors of our clinic are lots of desk based workers – and a main complaint is neck and shoulders pain.

Recent changes to how we work has seen a large percentage of us working from home.

This has obviously had a big impact on our upper bodies as they simply weren’t used to the load that was being placed upon them.

Take a read on as we break down the finer points about forward head positions and how it can affect you – and also what you can do about it!


In your neck you have the following main structures:

  • Vertebrae and facet joints – the bones of the neck and the joints that allow it to turn and extend.
  • Cervical Discs – the spinal discs which allow for movement and sit between the bones
  • Nerve Roots – the start of the nerves which lead off in to your upper limbs.
  • Neck and Shoulder Muscles

Here’s a simple test you can all do to show the importance of avoiding excess forward head position.

Looking straight ahead – turn your head from side to side – you’ll notice its easy and you can turn your head fully.

Now – look down and repeat the movement - it’s now very difficult to turn your head from side to side.

This is because your neck and facet joints do not operate well when you look down.

If you consistently hold your head in downward positions it can tighten and stiffen joints up but also start top place pressure on the cervical nerve roots – which exit between the facet joints.

These are some of the symptoms you can develop

Top 3 Symptoms of Forward Head Position

  1. Neck and shoulders – muscular pain and tension
  2. Loss of neck range of movement – stiffness
  3. Nerve pain which can extend in to your arms

The head is heavy in nature and some have argued in the past that it may be too heavy for the neck in these positions.

To put this in perspective studies have shown that the neck is subjected to around 60 pounds of force when tilting the head forward and back but other pieces of research have shown that the neck can withstand up to 560 pounds worth of force before they suffer an injury!

MSK Sports Injury Clinic
Mark Poolan
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