Text neck is the term used to describe the neck pain and loss of curvature of the spine from looking down at your cell phone too frequently and for too long. To avoid it - When looking at your cell phones consider bringing it up to eye level to keep your head straight. Make sure to take hourly breaks to stretch your shoulders/back. Seek chiropractic care at the onset of pain.
It seems that text neck has become the new “Do not sit so close to the T.V.”. There is a reason for it, however. Text neck is more than just an excuse parents use to get their children off of electronic devices; it is a serious medical condition.
If left unchecked, text neck can lead to life-long damage to the spine. Here are some steps you can take to keep your spine happy and healthy, and free from text neck.
What Is Text Neck?
Text neck is the loss of curvature of the spine due to repeatedly looking down and forward; such as when staring at your cell phone.
Permanent damage can occur if the pattern goes unchecked, like herniated cervical discs, pinched nerves, and arthritis. Over a long period of time you can actually completely lose the natural curvature of your cervical spine.
Why Does Text Neck Happen?
The average human head weighs about 11 pounds. When your head is upright, your muscles, bones, and connective tissues work very little to keep it that way.
When you lean your head forward and down, you actually increase the amount of gravity pushing down on a relatively weak point in your spine, making your body work extremely hard to keep it in position.
Depending on the angle of your head, the force can be like 12 to 60 extra pounds of weight on your neck!
Symptoms Of Text Neck
As the name may suggest, text neck is most commonly associated with neck pain. Other symptoms range from mild to severe, and include:
- Upper back pain and shoulder pain.
- Pinched nerves resulting in sharp pain in the neck.
- Neurological symptoms like tingling, radiating pain or spasm down the arms.
The damage caused by the disorder may also lead to early symptoms of arthritis in some people.
How To Avoid Text Neck
To avoid text neck, you need to take steps to ensure you do not do the act which causes it. When looking at your cell phone or e-reader, consider bringing it up to eye level to keep your head straight.
Place your laptop computer on a stand or use an external monitor to bring your screen up to eye level. When working at a desk for long hours, make sure to take hourly breaks to stretch your shoulders and back.
The best thing you can do if you suspect you have text neck is to get to a chiropractor. Your chiropractor can help to realign your spine; and give you tips and exercises to do to help you strengthen and realign your posture.
Remember that it has taken hundreds of hours of the same motion to create this problem; so it may take some time to heal. Be patient with yourself!