With mobile technology quickly becoming integrated into our everyday lives and becoming more affordable for the masses, it’s no wonder that more and more people are seeking medical help after experiencing debilitating neck stiffness and pain. With such a noticeable increase in such conditions, health professionals around the world are causally referring to these group symptoms as “text neck”.
“Text neck” is used to describe a condition in which the neck is constantly straining itself in a downward angled position to stare at a phone screen. When the neck is held in this position for an extended period of time, the individual’s spine can be negatively affected by the exponential forces this position can place on the spine. With a vast majority of American citizens owning their own smart-phone, this has quickly evolved from a rare-condition to an epidemic.
The Negative Effects of Text Neck
Whether you’re watching highlights for a sports game or browsing our social media profiles, chances are your natural head position is in the forward/downward position. Try to pay attention to this next time you are using your smartphone, as it can cause a number of painful symptoms. First of all, as stated above, this position puts an exponential amount of pressure on both your neck and shoulder muscles. This sustained pressure will begin to degrade your cervical discs.
Once the cushiony barrier between your cervical discs is worn down is when people usually begin to experience the pain associated with text neck. While this may not seem like a big concern at the moment, 40 years down the line, you’ll be thanking yourself for looking up from your phone every once and awhile. Failure to do this at a young age can lead to fusion of the vertebrae and a serious lack of mobility later on in life. In severe cases, text neck can lead to numbness and lack of strength in the extremities.
How to Prevent Text Neck
The easiest and most cost-effective way to prevent text neck from taking hold is by simply raising your phone to eye-level (or as close to it as possible) when using it for an extended period of time. This will naturally bring your head to an upright position and relieving your neck and shoulder muscles of those heavy long-lever forces. This same concept applies to laptops as well. When using a laptop for work, make sure to get a laptop stand to keep the screen close to eye-level.
If the symptoms continue after making these small lifestyle changes, it may be time to see a chiropractor. Most chiropractic offices have massage therapy services as well, which can be useful to prepare the affected area for the chiropractic adjustments as well as relieve some of the aching from cramped muscles. As a parent, it’s important to pay attention to these signs early on in life, as children are beginning to use smartphones more and more often. Talk to your kids about text neck and train them on how to use these devices properly. Trust me, they will thank you in their senior years!