Text Neck. What is it and how to stop it

Text neck, it’s the new buzzword.

Yep, it is real and we see it every week at our clinic.

Text neck is the term used to describe neck pain caused by looking down at your mobile phone, tablet, etc for too long or too frequently…. or both.

It doesn’t just affect adults. Kids are suffering from this too. Headaches, sore neck, and a sore upper back are becoming more common in the school-aged kids that we see. And we link it to the use of devices. Whether it be for schoolwork or for fun, they are looking down at the device/laptop/phone, placing strain on their necks.

I have been asked- but we look down to read books. Before devices, that is what we did and we didn’t all have neck pain then. Yeah, your right. The difference is with texting and on devices, people tend to do it for much longer periods. Also, when we read books, most people lounge about and get comfy to read. When we use a device, it can be at the school desk, work desk, while cooking dinner… while walking down the street! (that’s a gripe of mine!) What is worrying, is that yes, we live in a world of technology. Our children are exposed to this daily. As they grow, there could be a possibility of permanent damage to their necks that could lead to lifelong neck pain. So my question is, how do we manage and avoid the neck pain associated with technology use?

Text neck and associated symptoms

The most common symptom is neck pain and soreness.

Other symptoms can include:

    • Upper back pain, between the shoulder blade region
    • Shoulder pain and tightness with neck and/or upper back pain
    • Headaches that may be from the neck pain
    • In really bad cases, disc irritation in the spine of the neck can cause severe pain and even neurological symptoms

Poor neck posture of all kinds, not just from texting, can lead to strain or sprain.

How do we treat text neck?

First, prevention is key. Trying to change habits to unload your neck including:

    • We are all pretty up to date with getting our computer screens up to eye level and practicing good ergonomics. Well, it is the same for our phones. Hold your mobile phone at eye level as much as possible. The same for all screens—laptops, and tablets. They should also be positioned so the screen is at eye level and you don’t have to bend your head forward or look down to view it.
    • Take frequent breaks from your phone and laptop throughout the day. Holding your phone up at eye level will help this! I had somebody say to me- but my arm gets sore! Is that a bad thing? It may also be useful to set a timer or alarm that reminds you to get up and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes- get away from your screen or device.
    • If you work in an office, make sure your ergonomics are correct. 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.

The take-home message is to avoid and then you won’t have to come and see us! Avoid looking down with your head bent forward for extended periods throughout the day. Try to be mindful of your posture. It will really help.

Osteopathic treatment

This is to help relieve your current symptoms, such as your sore neck, back pain, headaches, and shoulder pain. We will use our manual therapy techniques that may help to relieve these pains and get you going again. Then it is up to you to try to avoid the aggravating factor!

Same as always, if you have any questions… ask us! We love to help people so ask away and we may have some tips for you that can help.

This blog post is an educational tool only.  It is not a replacement for medical advice from a registered and qualified doctor or health professional.

Any other questions not answered here? Get in touch with us!

Phone: 03 97738085

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