TECH CAN BE A PAIN IN THE NECK
Text neck is a repetitive stress injury caused by hanging your head in a forward and downward position for lengthy periods of time. When your neck is in this position, excessive amounts of tension grow in the deep muscles of your neck and across your shoulders, which can cause acute and chronic neck pain, as well as chronic headaches.
The Cause of Text Neck
When you are in an upright posture, the weight of your head only puts about 10-12lbs of force on the muscles of the neck. However, with each inch your head moves forward, and extra 10-12lbs is added. In total that amount can increase as much as six times! By doing this you’re putting an added 60-72lbs of added weight and stress on your neck. That is the equivalent weight of five 10-pin bowling balls! Text neck is caused by unnatural positions that your body is forced into when you are staring down at a screen. This includes the hunching of your shoulders and angling your neck downwards.
Signs and Symptoms
- General shoulder pain and tightness
- Instant neck or upper back pain when using a handheld device
- Upper back pain ranging from nagging chronic pain, to sharp and severe muscle spasms
- Chronic headaches
- If untreated, text neck can lead to inflammation of the neck muscles, ligaments and nerves, permanent arthritic damage, and an increased curvature in the spine.
Prevention and Treatment
Treatment plans are created for patients suffering from Text Neck. The aims of treatment are to reduce the pain and inflammation, restore normal strength, range of motion, and full function, and to prevent reoccurence. However, Text Neck can be prevented by:
- Taking frequent breaks – Because Text Neck is a repetitive stress injury, it can be easily prevented by taking breaks from your mobile device every fifteen minutes to reassume an upright neutral position.
- Hold your device higher – When you hold your device higher so that it is aligned with your eyes, your neck muscles do not suffer as much tension.
- Do posture focused exercises such as yoga and pilates, as well as some simple neck stretches.
- Sit in a chair with a headrest – This will be a reminder to keep your head upright, against the back of the chair, while on your device.
- Use pain as a warning! Take pain in your neck, back, and arms as a warning that there may be a serious issue! Make changes to the amount of time that you spend on electronics daily.