So-called “text neck” is a very common affliction affecting people who text on a phone or other device frequently. This condition is a result of the constant growth in the mobile user population, whereby flexing the head forward to text on a smartphone directly impacts the spine. It’s more common among children and teens who spend a majority of their day on smart phones.
Text neck is essentially a repetitive stress injury with the primary cause being excessive texting or mobile device use. It can be diagnosed by a doctor after performing a physical exam and taking the patient’s history.
When you tilt your head forward 15 degrees, this action places 27 pounds of force on your neck, according to Physiopedia. This increases to 40 lbs. at 30 degrees, 49 lbs. at 45 degrees and 60 lbs. at 60 degrees.
The damage caused by untreated text neck is akin to occupational overuse syndrome or repetitive stress and strain injuries.
Common Symptoms of Text Neck
Symptoms of this condition include:
- Pain in the neck, upper back, or shoulder. This pain can be intense or stabbing, or it could be more like a general achiness and soreness over a broader region, such as from the bottom of the neck to the shoulders.
- Rounded shoulders and forward head posture. Muscles in the chest, neck, and upper back may become imbalanced due to excessive periods of forward head posture.
- Reduced mobility. You may experience tightness and reduced mobility in your neck, upper back, and shoulders.
- Headaches. Muscles can spasm at the base of the neck, resulting in pain in the head. You may also experience eyestrain and headache.
- Increased pain with neck flexion. Symptoms may worsen when your neck is flexed forward while glancing down and texting.
- Radiating pain: Neck pain can radiate into the arms and shoulders.
Text Neck Treatment
Text neck can usually be treated at home without the need for invasive procedures. You can:
- Do exercises and stretches to increase your neck’s strength and flexibility
- Improve your postural habits when using your smartphone.
- Raise the phone closer to eye level so you don’t have to tilt your head forward.
- Take frequent breaks. Set reminders on your phone to put it down, do some stretches and take a break.
- Stand up straight, tucking your chin in and pulling your shoulders back. This will ensure your body remains aligned in a neutral position.
- Arch your neck and upper back backward every so often to alleviate muscle pain.
- Exercise regularly: Teens can engage in low-impact team or endurance sports to keep neck pain at bay. People who have strong and flexible backs and necks are better able to handle extra stress.
Most times, text neck can be dealt with on your own. But for more persistent text neck pain, you can explore non-invasive treatments for pain, which can include medications, pain-relieving procedures and rehabilitation.
Contact Summit Spine and Joint Centers
To book a consultation to treat your “text neck” or other pain condition, contact us at 770-962-3642 about visiting one of our 21 centers including our newest location for Pain Management in Stockbridge, GA.