Scoliosis Therapy Centers


Technology, Posture, and Scoliosis

ByAllen Czermak


Look at their backs, is it scoliosis or just plain bad posture? Let’s find out.

Hello out there, all you home-bound moms dads and kids. How’s it going? By now I hope you are settled into more or less of a routine. If you have decent weather, I hope your kids are bike riding around town (if permitted in your town) and keeping active in your driveway (if you have one) or on the roof of your building (if you have a fence) or playing tennis and jumping rope.

After the school teleconferences (not parents but students) are done, I have a feeling your kids will be at their devices and computers, playing games, texting or whatever communication app they use.

This is a good time to check each one of your family members for questionable back posture. It used to be called, nerd neck, scholar’s neck or reading neck. To keep up with technology the latest term for the slanting of the neck forward is, tech neck. The human head weighs approximately ten to twelve pounds. If you tilt your head just fifteen degrees forward, the weight of the head can feel as if you are carrying up to twenty-seven pounds. With a tilt of thirty degrees the weight can feel like forty pounds affecting the spine with this additional weight. If the person has a severe type of this forward neck condition with a tilt of sixty degrees where the chin touches the chest, then the weight will increase to up to sixty pounds. The spine can feel as if it is collapsing, causing lower back pain. That’s not all, the knees will begin to hurt, and the pain descends to the ankles as well.

Forward head posture

Forward head posture is defined as the forward leaning of the skull of more than an inch over the first vertebra of the neck. This causes the joints and muscles in front of the neck to become weak and at the same time tightening the muscles of the upper back and shoulders.

Rounding of the shoulders is a change that occurs when there is too much pressure on the tissues, nerves and muscles of the neck and shoulders. This can cause headaches and dizziness as well as misalignment and pain in every joint of the body. In order for the human body to compensate for this abnormal posture, the balance of the controls of the body is altered causing balance problems and increase in the risk of accidents.

Computers and Cell Phone Postures

For older kids and adults using a computer monitor, the problem of forward neck is easier to resolve than cell phone forward neck posture. In fact, you can watch other colleagues in the office to see how they sit in front of their computers. The natural tendency of a computer user is to lean forward against the desk as they hold the mouse in their hand. Sitting at a computer for an extended period, can cause strain to various muscles. In order to avoid pain and neck issues, the neck must remain in a neutral and relaxed position. This can be accomplished by making sure that the upper third of the computer screen is at eye level and that the monitor should be a safe eighteen to twenty inches away from the face. If a person feels their head poking forward, he should become attuned to bringing it back to neutral position. This is not such a difficult habit to become accustomed to.

With tech neck, solutions are more challenging. Children who develop bad posture can cause long term negative effects to their neck, back and spine. In fact, the digestive organs as well become compressed and food cannot be digested efficiently. Heart disease and varicose veins are dangerous side effects of bad posture. The spinal cord can change shape causing lots of pain and balance issues.

Researchers have noticed that there is an increasing amount of doctor visits by children experiencing chronic back pain and they attribute this problem to the increase in cell phone use.

Slouching when using a mobile device can be habit forming. This form of sitting can be shifted to the classroom and dinner table especially if the child is eating alone and will be using the device at the table. But, even without the device in front of the child, the bad habit of slouching can become easily predominant. What happens is, that when the child bends over the phone, iPad or tablet, the angle of the head puts more strains on the other muscles and ligaments of the neck.

Some helpful hints to avoid tech neck syndrome

1) Of course, the best advice is to get your children off the couches, beds and floor and start moving. With warmer weather on the horizon, the kids should shift to the outdoors and use their free time to play non – contact sports (till this virus blows over) like tennis, biking, and rollerblading. In bad weather, dancing and exercise are good subs when indoors.

2) Have the child sit up straight while using a device by purchasing a special holder for the child to use to avoid slouching.

3) Have your child stop every few minutes while texting to raise and stretch their arms above their heads.

4) Use the right pillow that will support the natural curve of the neck. Using more than one pillow is detrimental and increases forward neck syndrome. The pillow should not be too stiff or too high.

5) While elevating your monitor, as mentioned previously, choose a chair height that allows the person’s feet to be firmly planted on the floor. The desk should be able to allow the forearms to be parallel to the floor as the shoulders relax.

6) Neck exercises are very important to improve posture and strengthen muscles.

  • Turn the head to the left while feeling a stretch. Hold this position for five seconds. Then do the same to the right. Bring the head back to the neutral position.
  • Stretch your chin forward till you feel the stretch in your neck. Hold this position for five seconds. Pull your chin into a neutral position.
  • Tilt the head toward the left shoulder and feel the stretch. Hold for five second then repeat on the right side.
  • Tuck your chin in by using two fingers of one hand. Put the other hand on the back of your head and apply light pressure down as you pull your head towards the chest.
  • When you feel the stretch at the back of the neck, hold the position for about 25 seconds. This stretch should be repeated three times.
  • To open the tightened chest and shoulders, do the open doorway stretch. Hold on to the doorway with your elbows and hands in line with the doorway. Each hand should be at a right angle. Move through the door at a slow pace until you feel a stretch. Keep this position for about twenty-five seconds before going back to the original starting position. Repeat two or three times. Make sure you do not arch your lower back while doing the open door stretch.
  • The shoulder blade squeeze while sitting on a chair with a back is quite an effective exercise to activate and strengthen the lower and mid back. Sit down in a chair and position the feet and knees to be slightly wider than the hips. Tuck in the chin and raise your chest up to allow the spine to be in a neutral position. Put down both of your arms at your sides. Bring each arm to the back of the chair and rotate them so that the thumbs are pointing backwards. Hold this position for about ten seconds and then release. Repeat ten times for two or three sets.
  • This next exercise is for an upper body stretch. While standing, place the hand on the opposite side of your head. Bring the head down towards the shoulder. Use the overhead hand to press your neck down gently in order to get a deep stretch. Hold this position for twenty to thirty seconds for two to three sets.


Scoliosis is a specific type of curvature of the spine. Scoliosis is defined as a curvature of the spine that bends sideways. When you are looking at the back of a person with scoliosis, the spine curves slightly to the right. There is also a spinal condition like scoliosis which is called lordosis. This is when the spine is bending forward.

In case, your child is not responding positively to the call for exercise and you are still bothered by his or her posture, it is probably time to see a scoliosis specialist. Chances are your child will need some extra physical therapy specifically geared to a tech neck. It may be lordosis, scoliosis or just plain slouching. Whatever it is, it needs to be taken care of promptly. Sometimes kids listen to us and sometimes they don’t. That’s when the experts come in very handy.

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