Relief for that pain in the neck

Is your neck constantly tight, achy and irritated? If so, you may have tech neck — neck pain caused by too much time spent staring at a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Tech neck, also called text neck, is common in today’s world… and it’s no wonder. Just think about how much time you may spend staring at a screen of some kind or another. If your posture is poor while you’re doing your web surfing, T.V. watching or texting (especially if your head is tilted downward or you’re hunching your shoulders) it can take a major toll on your neck.

Of course, chronic neck pain can come from other causes too, like:

  • Reading in bed
  • Too much driving
  • Gritting your teeth
  • An awkward sleeping posture
  • An old case of whiplash
  • Osteoarthritis

Basically, neck pain can happen from anything that causes you to hold your neck in an unusual position for an extended period of time. And of course certain injuries and diseases can do the trick too.

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But whatever’s causing your neck pain, one thing is for sure… neck muscles that are chronically tight and irritated are a real pain. And, even worse, they keep you from enjoying your day-to-day life. You can’t drive, you can’t sleep — heck, you can’t even turn your head.

Tight neck muscles can also lead to chronic headaches, which are no walk in the park either. Luckily there is a simple solution to your neck-related woes… tai chi.

Tai chi, an ancient Chinese mind-body exercise, is a scientifically-proven solution to the modern plight of tech neck and other types of neck pain too. A recent study published in The Journal of Pain found that people who did tai chi for 12 weeks experienced a significant improvement in their chronic neck pain. They also experienced an improvement in their ability to function and their quality of life.

Tai chi is a meditative exercise that combines deep breathing with slow focused movements. It’s perfect if you have limited mobility and need to ease your body into being more active. Besides neck pain, tai chi is also known to help with:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • High blood sugar
  • Inflammation
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart health

For a few examples of gentle tai chi exercises, see Dr. Mark Wiley’s videos, Tai chi exercise for a supple waist, and low back and leg flexibility and  exercises that erase pain and stress.

These two exercises for overcoming tech neck from Dr. Wiley’s colleague — chiropractor, Dr. Brett Cardonick — though not related to tai chi, may come in handy as well for stopping any unwanted pain in the neck.

  1. “Easy Exercises to Remedy “Tech Neck.” Elle. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  2. “Neck Pain.” The Mayo Clinic. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  3. Lauche, et al. “The Effects of Tai Chi and Neck Exercises in the Treatment of Chronic Nonspecific Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” The Journal of Pain, 2016; 17 (9).
  4. “What are the Health Benefits of Tai Chi?” Medical News Today. Retrieved October 13, 2016.


Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and