Text neck is a modern age term to describe repeated stress injury and pain in the neck resulting from excessive watching or texting on hand-held devices over a sustained period of time. It is also known as Turtleneck posture or anterior head syndrome.
While technology is beneficial in our lives in many ways, being hunched over devices for lengthy periods of time can lead to neck strain, headaches, and discomfort in the shoulders, arms, and hands.
Here are some tips to help minimize the risk of text neck:
Take frequent breaks by looking up from your device.
Maintain good posture while using a mobile device or tablet to relieve your back and shoulders from the strain of slouching.
Stretch in between prolonged usage of your device by rotating your shoulders with your arms by your sides to release tension.
Tucking your chin downwards and then looking up to the sky also helps to relieve neck strain.
See your chiropractor for regular checkups! An aligned spine is the most important step towards avoiding pains and strains.
Common Symptoms Associated with Text Neck
Text neck symptoms commonly include one or more of the following:
Pain in the neck, upper back, and/or shoulder. This pain may be located in one specific spot and feel intense or stabbing, or it may be a general achiness and soreness that covers a broader region, such as spanning from the bottom of the neck and into the shoulder(s).
Forward head posture and rounded shoulders. Muscles in the neck, chest, and upper back can become deconditioned and imbalanced due to prolonged forward head posture. This deconditioning can make it difficult to maintain good posture.
Reduced mobility. The neck, upper back, and shoulders may all experience some tightness and reduced mobility.
Headache. Muscles at the base of the neck could go into spasm and become painful, or pain could also be referred from the neck up into the head. Excessive amounts of time looking at screens, regardless of posture, may also increase the risk for eyestrain and headache.
Increased pain when neck flexion. Text neck symptoms tend to worsen when the neck is flexed forward into the position that originally caused the problem, such as while looking down and texting.
Where and how pain is felt can vary from case to case. For example, someone who primarily looks at a phone screen while using both hands (or no hands if it is lying on a table or lap) may be more susceptible to having pain evenly distributed on both sides of the neck and/or upper back, whereas someone who uses one hand may have more pain on one side due to using or straining those muscles more.
With the increased usage of phones, I-pads, and laptops during the pandemic, it is important to practice good texting habits and if you are feeling any of the above symptoms consider getting an assessment by Dr. McHardy at Parkway Back and Foot Clinic.