What Is Text Neck?
Text neck is an increasingly common problem caused by spending too much time looking down at your digital devices. It is characterised by pain in your head, neck, shoulder blades, or upper back due to the strain of holding your head in an awkward position for long periods of time. The symptoms may include headaches, shoulder stiffness and tension, upper back pain, and even tingling sensations in the arms or hands.
It is estimated that on average individuals spend over two and a half hours a day looking down at mobile devices. This persistent forward flexion of the neck results in alterations to the natural curve of the cervical spine (cervical relates to the vertebrae of the neck), the ligaments that surround the joints in the neck, and the muscles and
tendons. This all affects the individual’s posture and the extra stresses start to be experienced as pain in the neck, upper back, shoulders, and even into the arms and hands. Many people may also experience headaches or at times even migraines as a result of stress on the neck.
If these initial signs are ignored, text neck can potentially lead to much more serious and lasting damage. The joints and muscles will be more prone to common and painful strains and sprains, and spinal misalignments. Furthermore, joints under constant stress become dysfunctional and are more prone to wear and tear, this in
turn can lead to early wear and tear (aka osteoarthritis) which can become quite debilitating. In other cases there will be pain, tingling, numbness and weakness in the arms and hands as a result of cervical disc herniations, which can be extremely painful, and in the worst cases can cause permanent nerve damage.
Text neck and the forward head posture associated with it, does not only affect the spine, it can also result in diminished vital capacity of the lungs by up to thirty percent! I t is quite clear to see the health implications of our technology lead lifestyles, but what can be done to help prevent these problems from occurring? Firstly, we should all consider spending less time on mobile phones and other handheld devices but also if we make a conscious effort to bring the mobile phone up to eye level rather than bringing the head down will make a big, big difference.
Chiropractic treatment can help relieve the symptoms of text neck by realigning the spine to reduce pressure on the joints and nerves. Additionally, chiropractors will often recommend lifestyle modifications such as posture exercises to correct poor posture habits that contribute to text neck. These exercises are designed to strengthen weak muscles while restoring proper alignment of the spine. By strengthening these muscles through exercise and
stretching they will be better able to support the head when you use digital devices or engage in other activities that cause you to look downward for long periods of time. You may also be advised to take frequent breaks while using digital devices to give your body a chance to recover from any strain it has been subjected too and to
make slight changes to the way you sit while using tech.
In short: Your chiropractor will be able to give you a thorough examination and perform specific spinal manipulations, mobilisations, and soft tissue work to the affected areas to reduce stresses and strains on the joints and musculature and restore normal function. We will also be able to recommend case specific exercises, ergonomic and lifestyle advice that will all help to improve your posture and overall health.
Don’t delay – get your posture checked out to avoid future tech-related problems!!