A woman has revealed on social media how she corrected her “tech neck” at home and why she thinks people should take note.
Katie Blake, 24, who lives in Maine, has gained viral attention for sharing the before and after of her neck. A neck hump, sometimes referred to as “tech neck,” is also known as a “dowager’s hump” or “buffalo hump.” It refers to an abnormal curvature or bump that develops at the base of the neck and upper back.
The noticeable hump or bulge at the top of the back is characterized by the forward projection of the neck and upper spine.
“I had my neck hump my whole life and always hated it, but I thought it was hereditary and that it couldn’t be corrected,” Blake told Newsweek.
“Over the past few years, I have been making changes in my life, and I started to do research on what causes the neck hump and if there was anything I could do,” she continued. “I learned that it was caused from poor posture and found stretches online.”
One of the most common causes of this condition is poor posture, including prolonged periods of slouching and hunching over. A dowager’s hump can also be exacerbated by aging, osteoporosis and other medical conditions.
Physiotherapist Nell Mead told Newsweek: “It can be genetic and it can be a result of other conditions, but in most people it’s simply down to habitual posture with the head forward. For example, tech neck where people crane forward to get a better view of their phone or computer monitor.
“Heads are heavy, and if you spend too much time with your head forward relative to your torso, then your spine will adapt to that, creating a humped appearance which gets stiffer over time,” Mead said.
Determined to do something about her posture problem, Blake started the exercises and stretches for her neck and noticed an almost immediate decrease in her pain. In a TikTok video that has received more than 12 million views, she shared the routine and results with amazed viewers.
“After about eight months of doing this twice a day—once in the morning and once before bed—I was able to hold proper posture,” she said. “My head came back in line, and the hump was gone.”
For many people, a neck hump can actually be prevented altogether. Mead said, “If you can maintain good flexibility and strength of your upper back and neck, and try to keep your head stacked over your body—and not spend too long staring at your tech screens while slumped—then you can usually avoid it.
“This is even more important if you have osteoporosis in your family because you will be more prone to this type of condition,” she added.
But will the routine created by Blake really help remove a dowager’s hump?
“It’s an excellent start for people who are young and fit and who basically just have a stiff upper back and neck. Katie has done a terrific job,” Mead said. “Especially on the flexibility side.”
With her newly corrected posture, Blake is continuing her routine to prevent the hump from returning.
“I try to be conscious of how I sit and stand to prevent this from happening again,” she said.
While the quick and easy exercises are a simple way for many people to reduce or prevent a posture problem, they may not work for everyone.
“For an older population with a stiffer neck or issues such as osteoporosis, I think she’s gone a bit fast,” Mead said. “I wouldn’t expect them to see results very quickly, but in many cases it is still possible to improve the curvature, even it if doesn’t totally disappear.”
Besides the exercises, other methods can prevent and reduce unwanted curvature of the back. Yoga and Pilates are great ways to increase flexibility and muscular strength. But those who are seriously concerned about their posture should consult a qualified physiotherapist.