Text Neck

text neck beforetext neck after“Text neck” is the term used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long.

A recent study shows that 79% of the population between the ages 18 and 44 have their cell phones with them almost all the time-with only 2 hours of their waking day spent without their cell phone on hand.

What are the symptoms associated with “text neck”?

Text neck most commonly causes neck pain and soreness. It can also lead to:

  • Chronic headaches and shoulder/neck pain
  • Upper back pain ranging from a chronic, nagging pain to sharp, severe upper back muscle spasms.
  • Shoulder pain and tightness, possibly resulting in painful shoulder muscle spasm.
  • Herniated discs, a condition where the soft inner part of the disc bulges out and can irritate surrounding spinal nerves.
  • If a cervical nerve becomes pinched, pain and possibly neurological symptoms can radiate down your arm and into your hand.
  • Some studies suggest, text neck may possibly lead to chronic problems due to early onset of arthritis in the neck.
  • Young, growing children could possibly cause permanent damage to their cervical spines that could lead to lifelong neck pain.
  • Increased curvature in the spine – especially in kids.
  • Medical research has also uncovered evidence of related early onset arthritis and even decrease lung capacity.

How is “text neck” prevented? 

Prevention is key. Here are ways o prevent the development or advancement of text neck:

  • Hold your cell phone at eye level as much as possible. The same holds true for all screens-laptops and tablets should also be positioned so the screen is at eye level and you don’t have to bend your head forward or look down to view it.
  • Take frequent breaks from your phone and laptop throughout the day. For example, set a timer or alarm that reminds you to get up and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes.
  • If you work in an office, make sure your screen is set up so that when you look at it you are looking forward, with your head positioned squarely in line with your shoulders and spine.
  • Avoid looking down with your head bent forward for extended periods throughout the day. Spend a whole day being mindful of your posture. Any prolonged period when your head is looking down is a time when you are putting excessive strain on your neck. Is your head bent forward when you drive? When you watch TV? When you read a book?

How can physical therapy help “text neck”? 

  • We can assess if your joints are stiff, if your muscles are tight, and your postural muscle strength is weak and help you resolves these issues.