Many of us have already experienced the dreaded text neck, and many of us will experience it again. Text neck syndrome is caused by excessive cellular device use over long periods resulting in neck pain and injury to the neck.
Mobile devices have changed the world. While there are many advantages to connecting with others no matter where you go, there are consequences to constant cell phone use.
The average head weighs about 10 pounds. Tilting your head forward for long periods can put stress on your cervical spine. On average, Americans pick up and check their cell phones 96 times per day. The amount of time we spend on our phones is significant, and the more attached we are to our devices, the more likely we are to suffer from text neck.
Text neck symptoms are not limited to the neck. Symptoms may also include:
- Shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Rounded shoulders
- Poor posture
- Tightness in the upper body
- Impaired balance
- Muscle spasms
Typically, text neck treatment can easily be completed from the comfort of your own home. The primary treatment used to combat text neck is strength exercises and stretching.
One of the most popular exercises is the chin tuck. Chin tucks are an excellent treatment option because they can be done at work or home. Specific yoga poses such as downward facing dog and cat-cow pose can also help eliminate text neck pain.
In some cases, physical therapy can help combat some of the worst cases of text neck and help build good habits to continue once PT has concluded. Usually, physical therapy will focus on strengthening your neck and back as well as work on stretching. A physical therapist may be able to correct your head posture as well.
Treating text neck is not only crucial for your neck and back but your overall health as well. If you habitually slouch or hunch over when you are standing or sitting, you may impair your lungs’ ability to expand and take in the proper amount of oxygen.
If your neck is suffering from handheld device usage, your thumbs, hands, and elbows may soon follow. As with most repetitive stress injuries, following RICE protocol can be beneficial for recovery.
- Rest: If you’re in pain, put the device down for a while.
- Ice: To reduce inflammation, apply ice to the affected area.
- Compression: Usually, this is not necessary. See our doctor for more information.
- Elevation: Particularly for text thumb and cell phone elbow.
There are a variety of prevention methods available to help text neck sufferers. One of the first lines of defense is home exercise. Stretch daily and exercise regularly. Frequently moving your body can be of significant benefit to your body as a whole.
Moving your neck muscles through stretching can help immensely. Add exercises into your workout regimen that focus on back and neck strength and address any muscle imbalances you have.
Be sure to take frequent breaks. This is especially important if you are working. It’s easy to slouch when we work on computers or at desks for long periods of time.
When taking a break, make sure you get up from your seat and walk around. Stand tall and roll your shoulder blades back.
Use your phone at eye level. Raise your phone instead of looking down at it. This action may help prevent text neck pain from reoccurring.
If you are using a computer or tablet, make sure they are at eye level as well. If you are always looking down, even slightly, you may feel the harmful effects of text neck.
Maintain good posture. Stand up straight while keeping your shoulders back. If you are in a sitting position, keep your feet flat on the floor and sit up.
If possible, use a chair designed to support your lower back. Hunching over won’t do your neck or your back any favors, whether you are engaging with a device or not.
While handheld devices aren’t disappearing any time soon, you can limit text neck pain. Luckily, this issue is preventable and treatable if it does occur. Our team of professionals can give you medical advice and work with you to solve any pain issues you have. Call now to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.