Text neck refers to a modern condition that results from the prolonged and excessive use of smartphones, tablets, and other handheld electronic devices.
It is characterized by neck and upper back pain, stiffness, and discomfort caused by poor posture while using these devices. When people use their devices, they often hunch over, slouch, or crane their necks forward, and this puts excessive strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the upper back area and neck.
The term "text neck" originated due to the widespread use of texting, social media browsing, and other activities that involve looking down at a screen for extended periods. The average human head weighs around 10-12 pounds, but when the neck is bent forward at a severe angle, the effective weight on the neck increases significantly. Studies suggest that the weight experienced by the neck muscles can reach up to 60 pounds when the head is tilted at a 60-degree angle.
The common symptoms of text neck include:
Persistent or recurring pain in the neck is often described as a dull ache or soreness.
Discomfort or pain in the upper back and shoulder blades.
Pain or tension in the shoulders is often accompanied by muscle tightness.
Tension headaches may originate from the neck and radiate to the head.
Stiffness in the neck and upper back.
Numbness in the arms, hands, or fingers due to nerve compression.
Feeling tired or fatigued in the neck and upper back area, especially after prolonged device usage.
Forward head posture, rounded shoulders, and increased curvature of the upper back.
Difficulty in moving the neck and upper back freely, with a sense of tightness and restriction.
Here are some solutions to help with symptoms of text neck.
Practice good posture by keeping your head in a neutral position, aligned with your spine. Lift your phone or device to eye level to avoid tilting your head forward. Sit upright and keep your shoulders relaxed.
Limit the time spent on your devices and take breaks to give your neck and upper back muscles a rest. Set reminders or use apps that remind you to take breaks and stretch.
Perform exercises that help stretch and strengthen the neck and upper back muscles. Examples include neck stretches, shoulder rolls, chin tucks, and upper back stretches. Consult with a physical therapist or healthcare professional for specific exercises tailored to your needs.
Make ergonomic adjustments to your workstations and electronic devices. Your computer monitor should be sitting at eye level; use ergonomic chairs, and position your keyboard and mouse correctly to reduce strain on your neck and upper back.
Be mindful of your device usage habits. Avoid spending prolonged periods on your devices without breaks. Limit the time spent on activities that require excessive neck flexion, such as texting or browsing social media. Consider voice-to-text options or using larger screens for reading and typing tasks.
Developing strong core muscles can improve overall posture and provide better support for the spine. Engaging in exercises like planks, yoga, and Pilates can help strengthen the core muscles, thereby reducing the stress on the neck.
If you experience persistent pain or discomfort despite implementing these solutions, it is advisable to seek professional help. A healthcare professional at Parkway Back and Foot Clinic can assess your condition and provide personalized treatment and guidance.
Remember, it's important to be proactive in preventing text neck by adopting healthy device usage habits and practicing good posture. By implementing these solutions, you can reduce the risk of text neck and alleviate its symptoms.
The pain and symptoms may vary for each person depending on how they use their device. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, please visit the doctor or chiropractor immediately.