Text-Neck: What is It and Ways to Avoid
Neck pain is a widespread problem, primarily reported in adults. Yet, neck pain experienced in adulthood often starts with our actions as adolescents.
Text-neck, in particular, is causing neck problems to be much more common in people under 18.
On average, adolescents spend five to seven hours a day looking at their phones. This doesn’t include time spent looking at their computer screens.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and treat text-neck. You don’t have to live with the pain forever.
What is Text-Neck?
Text-neck is a relatively new syndrome presented during the 21st century with the emergence of cell phones.
The condition refers to the degeneration of the cervical spine.
Text-neck syndrome causes significant stress on the cervical spine. The stress comes from continually tilting the head forward and downward to look at mobile devices.
Studies estimate that 75% of the worldwide population spends hours every day with their head tilted forward, looking at a screen.
The head is heavy; it weighs about 11 lbs (5 kg). The weight supported by the neck increases when the head is tilted forward. Tilting the head by 30 degrees increases the weight to 39.7 lbs (18 kg). Tilting it by 60 degrees increases the weight to a staggering 59.5 lbs (27 kg).
Over time, the excess stress can lead to cervical degeneration. The pain and disfigurement it causes to the body can lead to other medical, social, and psychological issues. Many people experience neck pain and changes in their posture.
Some symptoms of text-neck include:
- Muscle pain & stiffness
- Joint inflammation
- Pinched nerves
- Herniated discs
- Bone spurs
- Poor posture
Some studies suggest that text-neck might be linked to trouble breathing and arm pain. It may also cause increased stress and anxiety in some patients.
How To Avoid Text-Neck
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid text-neck. You can also begin to reduce any damage it may have already caused.
1. Keep Your Spine Neutral
The best way to avoid text-neck is to look at your mobile device from a neutral position. The head and neck should be facing forward, not down. Of course, this isn’t easy for most people — you’ve likely developed a habit of viewing your mobile devices downward.
Being mindful of your posture throughout the day can reduce text-neck. It’s best for the body to view a screen while sitting with the feet flat on the floor. Keep the shoulders back and the back in a neutral position. Hold the mobile device in front of your eyes — slightly below is also okay.
Holding your mobile device directly in front of you will initially feel weird, but it’ll save you a lot of pain in the long run.
2. Take Regular Breaks
The National Spine Health Foundation recommends that you take regular breaks.
Regular breaks are essential for anyone spending much time in front of a screen, even if it’s a computer at eye level. Sitting and staring at a screen for too long can be bad for your neck, back, and eyes, among other things.
Set an alarm if you need to remind yourself to get up and move around for a while.
3. Exercise & Stretch
The National Spine Health Foundation says that regular exercise is essential.
Getting regular exercise is vital for keeping your body healthy and strong. The stronger your muscles are, the easier it will be for your neck to hold your head up.
Regularly stretch the back and neck muscles to help realign the spine.
You can even do easy chair stretches and exercises right from your desk.
If your pain and/or posture are too advanced, it may be best to see a physical therapist. They are trained to help you develop exercises to alleviate your pain and help your posture.
Massage therapy won’t correct text-neck, but it can certainly help with the pain.
What if None of This Works?
If none of the above methods work, consider going to a chiropractor. Some people have seen decreased pain levels after seeing a chiropractor for spinal manipulation. You may also visit a physical therapist if you feel your neck pain is chronic. Those in the Everett area of Washington can drop by Everett Spine & Rehab as we not only offer chiropractic care, but also physical therapy and massage therapy. We can assess your situation and find an appropriate solution.
Text-neck is becoming increasingly prevalent with the use of phones and other devices. Americans spend hours on their phones every day, causing significant strain on their necks.
Fortunately, text-neck doesn’t usually cause permanent problems. You can fix many pain and postural issues by being aware of your posture and strengthening your body.