Text Neck: Signs, Symptoms and Treatments

Text Neck: Signs, Symptoms and Treatments

What is Text Neck Syndrome?

“Text neck” is a term used to describe the posture formed by constantly looking down at your phone for long periods. The issue doesn’t result in an overuse of your device, but rather how that overuse can negatively affect your body. Text Neck can cause stress injury to the body repeatably by excessive texting or overuse of any handheld electronics. The posture of looking down can cause thoracic hyperkyphosis, neck and shoulder pain, and headaches.

Given that texting has surpassed all other forms of communication for many people, the majority of us do experience this uncomfortable condition to some extent. Text Neck is a major worldwide health concern, that affects millions of people of all ages. A study by TV, streaming, and Internet Expert Trevor Wheelwright found that Americans spend an average of 2 hours, and 54 minutes on their phone each day.  The problem is continuing to get worse as we use our mobile devices more frequently than ever. This year, Americans checked their phones 344 times per day compared to 262 times per day last year, a 31% increase according to Reviews.org.

To read more statistics from Trevor Wheelwright click here.

Text Neck Causes Headaches and Neck Pain

The average human head weighs 10 to 13 pounds. Our necks and spine are made to balance our heads but not when the head is bent down looking at a smartphone for a long period.

The repetitive body position of looking down at our phone results in an upper body posture that extends the neck forward. The further our head and neck are extended forward and focus downward, the more our head will effectively weigh placing an unnatural strain on our neck, shoulders, and spinal column.

Signs and Symptoms of Text Neck:

  • Stiff neck
  • Soreness and difficulty in moving the neck
  • Numbness or tingling in your arm, hand, or fingers
  • Weakness in your arm or hand
  • Pain in the lower part of the neck
  • Pain in the upper back
  • Radiating pain in the shoulders and arms
  • Constant headaches
  • Posture problems

You can read additional symptoms here.

Text Neck Treatments:

  • Raise your phone to eye level
  • Stretch your neck and shoulders throughout the day to release tension caused by bending down to look at your phone
  • Practice good posture
  • Avoid excessive usage
  • Take frequent breaks

How Physical Therapy Can Help with Text Neck:

Healthcare providers will examine tenderness, muscle weakness, and numbness which will help them establish if the pain is caused by an acute injury or a more serious condition.

Physical therapy can be very effective in treating the stress injury caused by Text Neck. Our physical therapist will offer treatments to help decrease neck pain and improve neck mobility. They will provide patients with stretches for the muscles as well as ways to practice good posture. This will reduce pain, as well as strengthen the muscles, and restore function.

Research conducted that if text neck is left untreated, it can lead to the gradual deterioration of the cervical spine of the neck. This long-term risk may be greater in children and young people due to their bones still growing.

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