Text neck is the term used to describe the neck pain sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long.
Text neck most commonly causes neck pain and soreness. In addition, looking down at your cell phone too much each day can lead to:
- Upper back pain ranging from a chronic, nagging pain to sharp, severe back muscle spasms
- Shoulder pain and tightness, possibly resulting in painful shoulder muscle spasm
- If a cervical nerve becomes pinched , pain and possible neurological symptoms can radiate down your arm and into your hand
A recent study shows that 79% of the population between ages 18 and 44 have their cell phones with them almost all the time.
In order for text neck to be treated, prevention is key. Here are several pieces of advice for preventing the development or advancement of text neck:
- Hold your cell phone at eye level as much as possible
- Take frequent breaks from your phone and lap top throughout the day
- If you work in an office, make sure your screen is set up so that when you look at it you are looking forward, with your head positioned squarely in line with your shoulders and spine
Simple neck and shoulder stretches are important to improve blood flow and relieve tension.
Research points to the text messaging being worse for the neck than even other common smart phone tasks. While texting people text or read texts on cell phones for a much longer time and are less likely to shift positions.
The bottom line is to avoid looking down with your head bent forward for extended periods throughout the day. Spend a whole day being mindful of your posture. Any prolonged period when your head is looking down is a time when you are putting excessive strain on your neck.
Chiropractors have warned of the health dangers of bad posture while texting or using iPads for some time.
Technology has become a staple of life for people of all ages in our community, but “text neck” and the “iPad hunch” are an increasingly common side effect.