Text neck is one of the new terms used to describe the neck pain and injury caused by looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long. Next time you are at a local coffee shop or doctor’s office, look around –you are sure to see many people engrossed in their cell phone, tablet, or another wireless device.
For years, we’ve all looked down to read. The issue with texting is that it adds another activity that causes us to look down—and even more, people tend to do it for much longer periods. As a result, this could cause permanent damage to adolescent’s cervical spines which could lead to lifelong neck pain.
What are the Symptoms of Text Neck?
The most common complaint is neck pain and soreness. However, looking down at your cell phone too much each day can lead to:
- Upper back pain ranging from chronic, irritating pain to severe upper back muscle spasms.
- Shoulder tightness and pain.
- Pain and neurological symptoms can radiate down your arm and into your hand if a cervical nerve becomes pinched.
Researchers say overtime this poor posture, can lead to early-onset arthritis of the spine along with degeneration raising the possibility of surgery.
Is Text Neck Common?
In recent years text neck has become increasingly common. We frequently adjust patients with complaints of severe upper back and neck pain. In most cases, it is a direct result of certain lifestyle habits, such as texting or looking down at your phone all day long. A recent study sponsored by Facebook shows that 79% of the population only spend 2 of our waking hours without our cell phone on hand.
The human head weighs about 12 pounds. Therefore when your neck bends down and forward, the weight on your cervical spine begins to increase. Consequently, the pressure on your spine is then doubled for every inch your head tilts forward. Poor posture can cause other issues as well. It has been linked to headaches neurological issues, depression, and heart disease. It can even reduce lung capacity by as much as 30%!
How do we Treat Text Neck?
- Spinal Alignment
- Spinal Manipulation
- Physical Therapy Sessions
- Strength Exercises
- Massage Therapy
First and Foremost Prevention is Key
Here are some tips for preventing neck pain due to text neck:
- Hold or position your cell phone, tablet, or laptop at eye level as much as possible and you won’t have to tilt your head forward or look down to view it.
- Take regular breaks from your phone and laptop throughout the day.
- If you work on a laptop, be sure your screen is set so that when you look at it your head is positioned squarely in line with your shoulders and spine and you are looking forward.
The Bottom Line
Most importantly, try to avoid looking down with your head tilted forward for an extended amount of time throughout the day. Work on spending a whole day being mindful of your posture—is your head bent forward when you drive? When you watch TV? Any lengthy period when your head is looking down is a time when you are certainly putting too much strain on your neck.
If you find yourself suffering from any of the physical conditions above and would like to improve your quality of life, book an appointment at one of our convenient chiropractic offices, located in the Carrollwood or Town & Country area. We offer a variety of chiropractic services that will help you achieve relief from pain allowing you to live life to its fullest.