Text neck: what is it?
We know Pokemon Go and Clash of Clans is pretty entertaining, especially when you have time to burn, but most of us are staring at our phone without knowing that it can be quite damaging to our neck. Text neck is defined as an overuse syndrome involving the head, neck and shoulders, usually resulting from excessive strain on the spine from looking in a forward and downward position at any hand held mobile device, which can cause neck pain, shoulder and arm pain, and even breathing compromise (Text Neck Institute, 2016). Text neck can be seen in over 79% of adults between the ages of 18 and 44 and in more than 4 billion people (Text Neck Institute, 2016). The neck does not fare well with teenagers who are on the phone for over 2 hours a day, placing themselves in perfect position to develop chronic problems over time.
What are the symptoms and why should I be concerned?
Neck and upper back pain are mostly associated with text neck. Pain can range anywhere from nagging to sharp, and is also frequently accompanied by shoulder tightness. However, severe cases can lead to headaches, tingling and numbness in the upper body. The constant forward flexion of the cervical spine can incur changes in the curvature, as well as the supporting ligaments and musculature. If left untreated, text neck can result in flattening of the spinal nerve, spinal degeneration, neural damage, and early onset of arthritis. Studies have shown that for an inch of forward head posture, 10 pounds of additional weight can be placed on the spine (Text Neck Institute, 2016). It is crucial to eliminate unnecessary pressure on the spine to prevent injuries to the bones, discs, musculature, and reduce chances of developing arthritis.
How do we prevent it?
- Take a break! You’ve probably been staring at the phone for too long. Take longer and more frequent breaks or stay away from the phone and try something else.
- Raise the phone to eye level. If you have be on the phone, raise the phone up to eye level to prevent the neck from staying in a flexed position all the time.
If you experience constant pain in the neck or suffer from headaches, seek medical attention and book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists to receive an assessment and treat the pain. If you have any questions to ask a physio, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Text Neck Institute. 2016. Text Neck: A Global Epidemic. Retrieved from: http://text-neck.com/