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What on earth is Text Neck?

Desiree June 08, 2022

I can hear you asking yourself, what on earth is text neck?

Well, if you experience soreness and a nagging pain your neck, then this will be especially interesting for you.

The culprit could be your mobile phone!

In a recent study, it was suggested that a staggering 80% of the worldwide population aged 18-50 use their mobile phone within 2 hours of starting their day. That’s a lot of people!

If you look at your phone for long periods of time or too much, then you can suffer from neck pain and soreness which can then move into the upper back and the shoulder as well.

Text neck is the very non-scientific term which describes the neck pain and damage caused from looking down at your phone, tablet or other electronic device too frequently and for long periods.

Text neck is a repetitive stress injury, but it can be relieved or prevented by taking frequent breaks from the mobile device.

If you are having issues, then doing the following might help you relieve the pain that you are having :

  1. Look up and bring the neck back to its normal ‘neutral’ position.
  2. If you hold your mobile phone higher, so that it is in line with your eyes, it will reduce the stress on your neck muscles.
  3. By doing posture focused exercises such as Pilates or Yoga which aim to help you with your posture, you will find that it also reduces the stress on the neck and the shoulder.

If text neck is left untreated, then it can lead to some serious permanent damage, such as:

  • - Flattening of the spine
  • - Early Arthritis.
  • - Spinal misalignment
  • - Spinal degeneration
  • - Disc compression
  • - Disc herniation
  • - Nerve damage

Common symptoms are:

  • - Pain in the neck, upper back and/or shoulder
  • - Forward head posture with rounded shoulders
  • - Reduced mobility in the neck, upper back and/or shoulder due to muscle tightness
  • - Headaches
  • - Neck Pain when looking down

Less common symptoms are :

  • - jaw pain
  • - reduced balance control
  • - Pins and needles, numbness and/or weakness going from the neck to shoulder and/or arm.

If you have an acute case of text neck, then there are some simple things that you can do to help yourself:

  1. Neck muscle warm up every 30-40 min if you are using your phone.
  2. Neck stretches and movement in your neck such as the rotation of your head, changing directions or posture etc at least 10 times.
  3. Stretches: Stretch your neck muscles and then hold them for 10-30 seconds.
  4. Tuck your chin in and move your shoulders back and then hold for 20-30 seconds. It helps to strengthen the muscles of neck and head stabilizing muscles and get rid of neck pain and postural instability.
  5. Text less and Talk more!
  6. Rest: try and go easy on your neck while the muscles and tendons heal on their own. Avoid strenuous activities or movements that cause more neck pain.
  7. Ice and/or heat: They both work as an anti-inflammatory and help reduce pain and swelling. Ice or heat can be applied on an alternating basis which is a technique called a ‘contrast bath’.
  8. Posture correction and awareness works in the long run
  9. A lovely massage to the neck and upper back relaxes the tension in the muscles caused due to the adapted posture.

If your case is chronic, then you will need a little more help:

  • - Physiotherapy, such as what we are able to provide at our Sittingbourne and Maidstone Physiotherapy Clinics with home prescribed exercises to improve neck strength and flexibility.
  • - Cortisone Steroid injections
  • - Manual manipulation to improve your range of motion of the neck and reduce pain.
  • - Acupuncture

This is very much a case of prevention rather than cure. When using your mobile phone, it is important to make sure that you are not putting any extra burden on your neck, as the leaning over makes your head much heavier than if your head were directly above your shoulders.

Please get in touch if you have any questions, otherwise, put down your phone and start looking after your neck

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