Text Neck is a modern age term to describe repeated stress injury and pain in the neck resulting from excessive watching or texting on hand held devices over a sustained period of time.
This condition is a growing lifestyle and health condition with the constant growth in mobile user population across the world.
It is a cause for increased concern especially with children given their greater tendency to mobile phone usage.
Apart from neck pain, it can also cause shoulder pain, upper back pain, headaches and increased thoracic kyphosis (a curve in the upper back).
Flexing the head forward to use a smartphone directly affects the spine. Tilting the head forward to 15 degrees places about 12 kg of force on the neck/ muscles, whereas 60 degrees places about 27 kg of force on the neck/ neck muscles.
The most common presentation of Text Neck is neck pain, stiffness and soreness.
The Main Symptoms Include
– Stiff neck: soreness and difficulty in moving the neck is usually presented when trying to move the neck after long periods of using a device
– Pain: can be localised to one spot or may be diffused over an area, usually the lower part of the neck. Can be described as a dull ach or can also be sharp or stabbing is some cases
– Radiating pain: there can often be radiation of pain into the shoulders and arms
– Muscular weakness: shoulders muscles namely, trapezius, rhomboids and shoulder external rotators are often weak
– Headache: sub-occipital muscle tightness can lead to tension type headaches
Prevention is the key when it comes to Text Neck. These are just a few things you should keep in mind when using smartphones or other hand held devices:
-Avoid excessive usage and take frequent breaks
– Steer clear of prolonged static postures
– Position the device such that it reduces stresses both on the head/neck and the upper back/arms
– Stay away from high repetitions of movements such as typing or swiping
– Avert from holding large or heavy devices in one hand for long durations
Rehabilitation is found to be very effective in treating the stress injury resulting from Text Neck, which can be carried out over a 2-4 week program. A program would include soft tissue mobilisation, Grade 1 and 2 joint mobilisation, active and passive stretches of tight muscles and progressing to muscle strengthening, posture retraining and a home exercise program.
Pain relief is the main goal of acute cases of Text Neck. These are a few things that could help:
– Regular neck movements: rotations and side bending
– Restoring function to upper traps and serratus anterior
– Chin tuck exercises
– Ice and heat packs
Here at Comfort Health
If you feel that you are suffering with “Text Neck” get in contact with our team today. We can carry out a personalised assessment, followed by treatment/manual therapy. To finish off we will create a rehabilitation plan to help get rid of your text neck 🙂 Click Here!