Spencer Greenwald | June 28, 2024




At MantelMount, we talk a lot about neck pain. Frankly, it’s getting to be a pain in the neck.

After all, we mention it in almost every one of our blogs. We address it in various spots throughout our website. We discuss it with the distributors who carry our product. We just can’t seem to get it out of our heads. 

But there’s a good reason for it. It’s because watching a TV above eye level can, over time, produce neck pain, as well as a host of other physical issues.  MantelMount, the premier pulldown flatscreen TV mount on the market, solves the problem by allowing you to mount your TV above your fireplace (a very popular mounting option) or high on a wall, and bring it down to eye level for the perfect viewing angle, not just to maximize your viewing experience but to eliminate the issues associated with craning your necks up too long and too high. 

Yet as much as we’ve discussed the neck pain and other issues that can result from improper TV positioning, the one thing we haven’t done is offer you the perspective of a real medical professional that is, until now. So MantelMount reached out to Dr. Kay Sunakawa, a Doctor of Chiropractic at the Holistic Healing Center for Network Chiropractic in Sudbury, MA, to get her take on the subject.  

“Craning your neck upwards can cause neck pain, headaches, and other health issues,” said Dr. Sunakawa, who gained her degree from Life University in Marietta, GA. “Factors such as TV viewing habits, preexisting conditions, general health, can all have an impact. 

“For someone who watches maybe an hour of TV a day, and doesn’t watch every day, the pain or symptoms would be minimal, maybe even non-existent. But for someone who watches several hours a day every day, it’s likely to have a more serious impact.”

Based on the TV watching habits of the average American, it seems that “serious impact” is the more likely scenario. In the second quarter of 2017 consumers in the United States spent an average of 24.4 hours per week watching live television.  And while the projection for second quarter of this year is down to 22.5 hours per week, that’s still a good deal of neck craning – almost 3.5 hours per day – for those whose TV's are in less than optimal position.

“It certainly depends on the individual, their overall musculoskeletal health, how far back they’re titling their head, and many other factors, but 3.5 hours per day, every day of watching TV at a bad viewing angle is going to cause problems,” she stated.

What kind of problems?

“Neck pain, being one of the more obvious symptoms. But there is also the potential for spine problems that can be less obvious as more strain is placed on it from tilting the head back, especially if the person already has a condition like arthritis or spinal stenosis. Imagine sitting in the front row of a movie theatre for 3 hours, every day. The neck malposition and strain can lead to general neck pain and tightness, and over time it can also result in decreased range of motion, poor or asymmetrical posture, muscular imbalances and stiffness, headaches, nerve impingement, spine degeneration, and decreased nerve impulses to all the vital organs of your body.

“With nerve impingement, pain can radiate down your arms, and even down to your legs. Left unchecked, pain and decreased nerve supply can affect the entire body.”

Dr. Sunakawa provides the same advice to her clients whether it’s watching TV or working at their computer.

“It all goes back to angle,” she explained. “In terms of workplace ergonomics, we always emphasize the importance of having your computer right in front of you.  You don’t want to be looking up or down; straight ahead is the best position.

Ironically, while flatscreen TV’s have brought with them a new dimension in viewing enjoyment, they can also be considered the primary culprits when it comes to the aforementioned health issues.  Before the advent of flatscreen TV's, televisions were not mounted on a wall.  The earliest versions usually came built inside a large console that simply stood on the floor.  When the family sat on their couch watching Jack Benny or The Honeymooners, they were, by and large, sitting at a pretty innocuous viewing angle.  

When the huge consoles disappeared, the transistor tube-based devices were generally either placed on a table or a shelf in an entertainment center – still at a very acceptable angle. 

It was the introduction of the flatscreen that led to wall mounting and the assortment of health issues that have ensued from improper viewing angles.  Of course, MantelMount solves that problem nicely. But even if you don’t use a MantelMount, make sure you are watching your TV at eye level, whether that means mounting it lower on your wall or placing it on a table or desk.

Because while constantly talking about neck pain can wear you down, having it is much, much worse.