Text Neck Syndrome
Text Neck Syndrome is a term coined by Dr. Dean Fishman, a chiropractor from South Florida, to describe a repetitive stress injury and overuse syndrome of the upper back, shoulder and neck area, caused by poor posture while using mobile devices including smartphones and tablets. Typically, when you use a mobile device, you bend your head forward, hunch your upper back and round your shoulders. Over time, this can cause injury to the joints and muscles in your neck.
According to WebMD, when you hold your head upright, it places approximately 12 pounds of load on the neck muscles. When the head is tilted forward at 15 degrees, the load on the neck increases to 27 pounds. When it is tilted to 45 degrees, the load on the neck further increases to 49 pounds. Finally, when the head is tilted to 60 degrees, the head places an astounding 60 pounds of load on the neck muscles.
Keeping your head in an unnatural posture can cause damage. Tightness in the shoulder, upper back and neck can cause pain and muscle spasm. Another symptom that can occur is chronic headaches. The cervical nerve can become pinched and lead to a variety of neurological symptoms in the hand and arm, including weakness, burning or sharp pain, tingling and numbness. If this posture is continued, the neck muscles, nerves and ligaments can become inflamed and damaged, the spine may increase its curvature and arthritis can develop. Other symptoms associated with text neck include clicking in the neck joint, neck stiffness, the inability to rotate the neck from side to side and up and down, eye pain and feelings of heaviness.
Smartphone users spend approximately 2 to 4 hours staring down at their phones. The time spends looking down at your mobile device can damage your neck, shoulders and back. Let’s take a look at how to identify and correct posture problems when using a mobile device. Mobile device users typically hold their devices at chest level and tilt their head downward while texting. Instead of doing this, bring the mobile device up to your eye level to avoid tilting your neck. Because of the amount of time spent on mobile devices, it is important to take breaks and change positions while texting. To help relieve pressure off the neck, lie down on your back for a few minutes. You can relieve muscle pain in the neck by arching the neck, shoulders and upper back backward for a few minutes.
Here are a few simple exercises that help to stretch the neck, relieve tension in the muscles and improve circulation. Do these a couple of times a day to help prevent text neck syndrome. In addition to these exercises, yoga and Pilates can help counteract poor posture.
- Tuck your chin towards your chest and slowly lift it towards the ceiling. Do 15 reps to loosen up the muscles in the front and back of your neck.
- Stretch your shoulders and upper back by rotating your shoulders counter clockwise 15 times and then clockwise 15 times while holding your arms at the sides of your body.
- To stretch the muscles in the side of your neck and your shoulders, turn your head so that you are looking over one shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the other side. Complete 15 reps.
- Perform slow, gentle neck circles, repeating 10 times and then change directions and repeat another 10 times.
- Turn your chin to the left and lift chin towards the ceiling to stretch the front neck muscles. Repeat on the right side.
According to Spine-Health, chiropractic manipulation can help relieve neck, upper back and shoulder pain, improve a patient’s range of motion and restore function to the joints and muscles in the neck region. Before any treatment is done, the chiropractor will take a full patient history and do a physical exam. This information will help the chiropractor determine the best treatment method to alleviate pain and restore function. The treatment options may include cervical spinal manipulation, cervical spinal mobilization, heat and cold therapies, electrical stimulation, massage and stretching and strengthening exercises.
Text neck syndrome is becoming a global epidemic. With the invention of mobile devices, users are given the opportunity to instantly communicate with others, check emails, read books and research information. Unfortunately, this has led to a painful and even dangerous condition called text neck syndrome. Staying hunched over a mobile device can cause changes to the spine that can result in arthritis, disc compression, nerve damage and spinal degeneration. Improving your posture, performing stretching exercises and undergoing chiropractic care can help relieve text neck syndrome.
Suffering from text neck syndrome, neck or spinal pain? Our functional chiropractor specializes in treating all kinds of acue and chronic pain including neck, back, and joint pain. Call today to setup a free consultation.