Text neck is becoming more common as people use their mobile phones and tablets. From viewing their devices with their head and neck in
compromised positions, more people are developing symptoms of neck pain and headaches. As people sit and stand looking down at the screens, they are experiencing neck pain from strain of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and misalignment of the joints of the spine.
People of all ages are using smartphones to text and use social media all day long. It’s one of the most common forms of communication. With the head and neck in the position looking down, it causes over use of the structures of the neck and results in pain.
Chiropractor, Dr. Dean L. Fishman coined the term “text neck” which is also called “iNeck pain”. Here is a detailed article: Could You Have Text Neck Syndrome?
It’s very important for any doctor that treats patients with neck pain and headaches to take a thorough history. Part of the history should be asking how much time you are spending using your mobile devices. Some worker’s compensation cases are now looking at patient’s phone records to see reports of text messaging to prove the injuries are from personal time, not work time.
Research is showing the affects of text neck go beyond just neck pain. (Psychophysiological Patterns During Cell Phone Text Messaging: A Preliminary Study) It is also affecting other areas of health, including increased tensions, heart rates and holding breath. This could be due to the affect of compressing nerves in the neck when the vertebra misalign. When the neck is held in these postures too long, the bones become misaligned putting pressure on the nerves. Chiropractors have always explained these misalignments as subluxations which will decrease the function and health of the body.
Compounding the problem of text neck is that most people are sitting in front of their computers for several hours each day. This also puts the neck in a compromised position further exacerbating the neck pain and shoulder tension. More subluxations, more compression of the nerves and discs, leading to more pain and possible chronic conditions down the road.
Text neck is a condition being seen in all ages. Being technology is fairly new, we might see more musculoskeletal problems and health conditions in following decades resulting from the overuse injuries from texting, playing games on phones, social media, etc.
Chiropractors are the best health care providers to be able to help patients with text neck. Chiropractors are experts in subluxations, nerve compression and postural correction. A chiropractic treatment plan is to adjust your subluxations removing pressure from the nerves and increase your range of motion. This naturally relieves the pain you were experiencing. Advise is also given to prevent future injuries from text neck.
The following are some helpful tips to avoid the pains of text neck:
1) Take frequent breaks while texting or working at your computer. You shouldn’t spend more than 15 minutes at a time texting.
2) Posture is important. Instead of texting with your head and neck bent forward, sit upright with your phone in front of you at about eye level. This helps take away the tension from your neck and shoulder muscles.
3) If your phone has voice to text capabilities, use them as you won’t have to be bent over typing.
4) Stretch your neck and shoulder muscles. I created a video on stretching which you can view by clicking here: Home Stretching Neck and Shoulders.
5) Make sure you are optimally hydrated. Most people do not drink enough water. You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water. Also, drinking coffee and other caffeine products significantly dehydrates you and can lead to increase pain and muscle tension.
6) Best advice I can give… just pick up the phone and make a call. I’m sure your friends or loved ones would much rather hear your voice!
If you or somebody you know is experiencing neck pain and tension and you notice they spend a lot of time on their phone, they might be experiencing text neck. Share this blog with them and make sure they see a chiropractor as quickly as possible. The sooner text neck is treated the better the outcome and prevent further problems.
Dr. Russell Brokstein is the chiropractor and owner of Hometown Family Wellness Center in Freehold NJ. He has been treating patients for over 15 years and has noticed a significant increase in text neck and other ergonomic conditions. He incorporates chiropractic adjustments with therapeutic stretching to get to the cause of text neck, as well as other therapies if found necessary. For more information click here.