Last Updated: July 17, 2021
Neck pain is more widespread than ever in modern society due to a combination of ubiquitous computer and mobile phone use, poor workplace ergonomics, and a careless attitude towards seeking treatment.
In this post, we’ll show you 15 shocking statistics on neck pain and “text neck” in 2021 that will hopefully wake you up to the prevalence and potentially debilitating effects of neck pain.
1. 75% of the population will experience neck pain some time in their lives
The prevalence of neck pain globally is hard to ignore, with numerous studies showing that up to 70-75% of the population will experience neck pain sometime in their lives. .
Women consistently report more neck pain than men, especially musculoskeletal pain. In terms of geography, Scandinavian countries report higher mean estimates for neck pain than the rest of Europe and Asia. 
2. At any given time, about 10% to 20% of the population has neck problems
Think about that- up to 1 in 5 individuals are experiencing neck pain right now, with 54% of people having had neck pain in the last 6 months.
The cost of neck pain in lost productivity and insurance claims is staggering. In the US, neck pain ranks 2nd in annual workers’ compensation costs. In Sweden, the numbers are even more telling- 18% of all disability payments are for neck and shoulder related problems. 
3. 5% of neck pain sufferers will become disabled as a result
Neck pain comes in a variety of forms and intensities, such as bone pain, nerve pinches, muscle aches, or spasms. The somber news is, according to research, 5% of neck pain sufferers will become disabled as a result, unable to work or function normally as a result. 
For people who suffer debilitating neck pain, the economic burden can be extremely high. Apart from being unable to provide for their families, the cost of treatment can easily exceed tens of thousands of dollars.
According to the American Medical Association, low back and neck pain rank 3rd in total healthcare costs in the US annually, coming in at a staggering $86 billion dollars.
4. Women are 1.38 times more likely to suffer from neck pain than men.
This may come as a surprise to many, but numerous studies all show that women are more likely to suffer from neck pain than men, or at least report them. .
Various explanations of the reason have been proposed, including hormonal differences, cervical disc degeneration, and simply the possibility that women are more likely to report that they have neck pain in the first place. 
The most at risk group for neck pain are women in their mid-fifties.
5. Neck pain ranks 4th as the leading causes of disability worldwide
According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, neck pain ranks as the 4th leading cause of disability, behind back pain, depression, and arthralgias. Over the course of a lifetime, 50% of the population will experience a clinically important neck pain episode. 
6. Approximately 24% of all visits to chiropractors are for neck pain
In the US, chiropractors are estimated to treat over 35 million patients annually.  Neck pain ranks as the 2nd most common reason for all chiropractic visits after back pain, comprising of 24% of all visits.
In terms of the best treatment plan for neck pain using chiropathy, an analysis of 33 trials revealed that combined mobilization, manipulation, and exercise achieved the best results in neck pain relief. The manipulation of the thoracic spine also seems to provide immediate improvement in neck pain. 
7. 30% of patients who have neck pain will develop chronic symptoms
In the broadest sense, neck pain can be categorized as acute or chronic, with chronic persisting for many months and more likely to require the help of a specialist. Out of all neck pain sufferers, it is estimated up to 30% will develop chronic neck pain over time. 
Acute neck pain occurs suddenly and usually heals within a few days to weeks. The damage is usually limited to the muscles and ligaments, joints, or discs.
With chronic neck pain, underlying contributing factors can include nerve damage, tissue scarring, arthritis, etc. Healing time is significantly longer than with acute neck pain, and usually will require the aid of a specialist to remedy.
8. 26% of neck pain patients experienced a recurrence in less than a year
This will come as bad news for recent recoverers of neck pain, but in a survey of workers with neck pain, 26% experienced a recurrence in less than 1 year. 42% of sufferers missed more than 1 week of work, creating large financial stress from lost wages and high cost of treatment. 
The takeaway is clear- stay vigilant even after one has recovered from neck pain.
9. Office Workers, Manual Labourers, and Healthcare Workers are most at risk of developing neck pain
While anyone could be susceptible to developing acute or even chronic neck pain, according to different studies, the following professions are most at risk of developing the syndrome due to the nature of their work that puts undue stress on the neck . They are:
- Office workers, especially those who engage in heavy computer use.
- Manual laborers
- Healthcare workers
In office workers, the 12 months prevalence of neck pain is at a shocking 45.5%, which speaks to the poor posture and ergonomic setups of most office space, among other reasons. . Some important ergonomic considerations to prevent neck pain include proper monitor height set up, picking a good ergonomic chair with an adjustable headrest, and frequent ergonomic exercises between work sessions.
10. Obese individuals have a higher chance of developing neck pain.
Researchers say obese people have a higher propensity for developing neck pain for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons include deleterious structural changes, increased mechanical stress, diminished muscle strength, and greater disability related to kinesiophobia. 
11. A survey of young adults show only 21% have knowledge of “text neck”
The term “text neck” was coined by a US chiropractor named Dr. DL Fishman in 2018. He used the term to describe repetitive strain injuries in the neck area that have become more commonplace with the ubiquity of certain modern technology such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Despite young adults being most at risk of text neck, recent surveys show only 21% have knowledge of “text neck” and ways to prevent it. 
When it comes to preventing “text neck”, here are some helpful tips:
- Bring the phone to eye level when operating to prevent prolonged bending of the neck to look down.
- Use voice-activated features of the phone whenever possible.
- Avoid holding up the phone using your neck and shoulder when placing calls – use earbuds or the speakerphone function.
- Take frequent breaks from your phone and implement the 20-20-20 rule.
12. The amount of pressure on the neck more than doubles for every 15 degrees of neck bend. An average human head weighing just 12 pounds when upright becomes 60 pounds at a forward angle
It’s easy to picture the strain and potential damage the “text neck” posture exerts on the body when you consider the following findings:
In an upright position with the neck vertical and your ears in line with your shoulders, the average human head weighs 12 pounds. At just a 15 degree tilt towards your chest, that weight increases to 27 pounds. At a 60 degree angle, such as looking at your smartphone that’s resting on your lap or even desk, that weight increases to 60 pounds . That’s more than the weight of 4 bowling balls! It’s little wonder neck pain has become so prevalent in modern day society.
13. People spend on average 4 hours a day on their phones
This is a particularly troublesome statistic , as smartphones simply are not very ergonomic. It’s difficult to align the screen level with your eyes without straining your arms, the small screen strains your fingers when typing, and the close proximity of the screen to your eyes can cause eye damage over the long term due to blue light exposure.
The solution to limiting cell phone damage is so simple yet difficult for many people. Apart from adopting some of the suggestions listed above, the key is simply to start limiting your screen time on the phone. Curtail all non-essential tasks such as gaming or web browsing- use your computer with a proper ergonomic workstation set up instead for such tasks.
14. The top 3 most searched for tech ailments in the US are “texting thumb”, “selfie elbow”, and “text neck”
In 2018, a study looked at the technology related ailments people are most concerned about, by looking into Google trends. The result? The 3 most commonly researched ailments were, in descending order :
- Texting thumb: The repetitive gripping motions you do while using your smartphone can cause the thumb’s flexor tendon to constrict. This leads to painful popping whenever the thumb is bent and straightened. Effective treatments include cortisone injections and surgery.
- Selfie Elbow: This is the pain and inflammation that occurs to the tendon of the elbow joint when you repeatedly extend your arm to take a selfie.
- Text Neck: Also known as tech neck, this condition is caused by repeatedly leaning forward to view and operate tech devices. The poor posture leads to chronic neck and back muscle pain.
15. Exercise and Periodic Breaks are the best way to manage neck pain.
According to a Finland study, doing strength-training exercises is the best way to relieve neck pain.
Out of the 180 chronic neck patients, up to 75% reported considerable or complete pain relief. Even better, the patients still had improved neck strength one year after the study. 
Consistent periodic breaks have also been shown to help prevent and alleviate pain in the neck, shoulders and back. In a study involving computer workers, participants reported positive relief in all key areas of their bodies when microbreaks were taken every 20 minutes.