What is Text Neck?
Did you know that the human head weighs about 12 pounds? Text neck is a syndrome caused by poor posture resulting from extended hours on electronic devices such as smartphones or tablets. As the neck bends down and forward, the 12-pound weight on top of the neck (your head) pulls the cervical spine down, causing pain.
Depending on the angle of the neck, what was originally about 12 pounds can increase to 30-60 pounds of additional weight on the cervical spine. Over time, this can lead to muscle strain, degeneration, pain, and depending on the severity, surgery. This syndrome is colloquially called “text neck,” but is clinically called “anterior head syndrome.”
What are Text Neck Symptoms?
There are a multitude of symptoms related to this overuse injury. Neck pain, upper back pain ranging from dull chronic discomfort to sharp and severe muscle spasms, shoulder pain, and headaches are symptoms that, if ignored, could lead to chronic intractable pain.
How to Treat Text Neck
There are some immediate steps you can take now to stop this pain and improve your posture. Try to avoid bending your neck forward and raise your phone to more eye level. Take frequent breaks from your phone to allow your neck muscles to rest.
You can also try performing some stretches or yoga to actively open up the muscle groups that are affected by text neck. For example, try the exaggerated nod:
- Sit upright in a comfortable position. With your mouth closed, relax the shoulders and slowly lean your head back to look at the ceiling.
- Once you can see the ceiling, try to move your head back another inch or two.
- Slowly open and close your mouth to stretch the front of your neck.
For neck pain that is not alleviated with these tips, contact your physical therapist team at KureSmart Pain Management for further specialized and individualized treatment.