Tech Stress, Neck Wreck – Navigating the digital age’s toll on mind and body.

Story by Ann E. Butenas

Sharon Schneider, LMT

In the digital age, our smartphones and devices have become extensions of ourselves. They connect us to the world, provide endless information at our fingertips, and keep us entertained. However, this constant access to information comes with a hidden cost: stress and its physical manifestation, tech neck.

As we immerse ourselves in the virtual realm, we are bombarded with a constant stream of notifications, emails, messages, and updates. Our brains are constantly processing this influx of information, leading to a phenomenon known as information overload. This overload can overwhelm our cognitive abilities, leaving us feeling stressed, anxious, and mentally exhausted.

The stress induced by information overload is further compounded by the physical toll of our digital habits. With our heads buried in our devices for hours on end, we often adopt poor posture, hunching over screens in what has been dubbed “tech neck.” This prolonged forward head posture puts immense strain on the muscles, ligaments, and joints of the neck and upper back, leading to discomfort, pain, and even long-term spinal issues.

“Many people will complain of their neck bothering them and think they need help with their back. However, they really need help in the front of their body,” expressed Sharon Schneider, LMT and owner of Back and Bodyworks in Kansas City, Missouri. “When we sit at our desks hunched over, for example, we are curving and rounding forward. It is important to let the muscles of the front of your body relax/lengthen so that the muscles of the back don’t have to work so hard to oppose those muscles. When you are connected to your devices, it is a constant tug-of-war between the front and back of your body.”

The Double-Edged Sword of Information: Stress and Tech Neck

Tech neck is not merely a cosmetic concern; it’s a widespread health issue exacerbated by our modern lifestyles. Studies have shown that constantly looking down at our devices can increase the weight on the cervical spine by up to 60 pounds, equivalent to the weight of several bowling balls. This excessive strain can result in muscle imbalances, reduced flexibility, and structural changes in the spine, contributing to chronic neck and shoulder pain.

Schneider further emphasized this point. “For every inch you lean forward with your head, you add an additional 10 pounds of head weight to your spine,” she said.

Moreover, the physical manifestations of tech neck can have far-reaching implications beyond musculoskeletal discomfort. Poor posture can impair respiratory function, decrease energy levels, and even affect mood and cognitive performance. Research has linked slouched posture to decreased confidence and elevated feelings of depression and anxiety, further aggravating the mental health toll of our digital dependency.

“It is so important to be aware of how we sit at our computers and to be aware of our posture whenever we are on our devices,” indicated Schneider.  “When you have stress and muscle tension, that can lead to poor circulation, headaches, sleep disturbances, and a weakened immune system.”

So, how do we break free from the cycle of stress and tech neck?

Firstly, it’s crucial to become mindful of our digital habits. Take regular breaks from screens, practice digital detoxes, and set boundaries around device usage. Limiting screen time not only reduces the risk of information overload but also alleviates the physical strain on our bodies.

Additionally, prioritizing ergonomic practices can help mitigate the effects of tech neck. Ensure that your workspace is ergonomically optimized, with screens positioned at eye level and supportive chairs that promote good posture. Incorporate regular stretching and strengthening exercises into your routine to mitigate the effects of long periods of sitting and too much screen time.

Cultivating mindfulness and stress management techniques can also help alleviate the mental toll of information overload. Practice some deep breathing exercises, engage in meditation, or do some yoga to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. Disconnecting from digital distractions and reconnecting with the present moment can provide much-needed respite from the constant barrage of information.

Furthermore, fostering a healthy relationship with technology involves fostering healthy boundaries and habits. Set aside designated times for checking emails and notifications, rather than allowing constant interruptions throughout the day. Embrace the concept of digital minimalism, prioritizing quality over quantity in your online interactions and consumption habits.

While technology has undoubtedly revolutionized the way we access information and connect with others, it’s essential to recognize the hidden costs of our digital lifestyles. The incessant stream of information can overwhelm our minds and bodies, leading to stress and physical ailments like tech neck. By cultivating awareness, prioritizing self-care, and fostering healthy digital habits, we can alleviate the negative impacts of information overload and reclaim our well-being in the digital age.

For more information on ‘Tech Neck’’ and other stress relief please contact Sharon Schneider at

Back and Bodyworks at 816-420-8800 or visit