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What is TEXT NECK?

Posted by Simon Bowman on February 12, 2021

Text Neck is a term used to describe repeated pain in the neck area. This pain is often caused by increased neck flexion, which typically happens when scrolling your phone or texting, or reading a book on your hand.

To set the record straight, text neck isn't a medical diagnosis. Rather, only a term made to refer to the neck pain condition caused by prolonged use of gadgets, often handheld mobile devices. This condition is growing in popularity. In fact, the statistics have become alarming especially with children who are allowed to use mobile devices from an early age.

Also, it is important to remember that this is not limited to neck pain. Some others also experience back pain and shoulder pain.

What does TEXT NECK do to our body?

Tendons, muscles, and ligaments in our neck area need to compress to hold our head up, especially if we are looking down on something. But muscles can get so overly tired that can result in text neck.  When this happens, a person displays a poor neck posture that may appear forward or back slumped.

Signs and symptoms of Text Neck

You may eventually experience Text Neck after using gadgets for long periods. Here are the most common signs & symptoms that a person with this condition may experience:

Stiff neck

The neck may get sore. Then, it will be difficult to move each time you try to rotate your head. Neck spasms, may, also occur. 

Pain

It may be experienced in a certain spot in the neck or in larger areas such as the neck, the back, or shoulders. Characteristically, the pain can be a mild, sharp, or excruciating in the neck and back.

Radiating pain

The pain may start in one area then eventually spread to other parts such as the arms and back.

Weak Muscles

This is considered a severe symptom because this can affect neighbouring muscles and in worse conditions, may even escalate to a systemic weakness.

Headache

Painful shoulder joints can trigger headaches.

How to Prevent Text Neck

Below are important steps to prevent this condition:

  1. Avoid excessive use of mobile phones and other handheld gadgets.
  2. Have some time to rest and take a break from devices. It is best to set a time limit for gadget use.
  3. Avoid still positions for a long period. Move frequently and actively.
  4. Properly hold your handheld device. Don't position it too low because it will, more likely,  stress your neck muscles.

Management

The primary goal is pain relief, especially in acute cases. To do this, you can:

  • Move your neck regularly. For instance, you can rotate and side bend.
  • Restore functions to both your upper trapezius and serratus..
  • Exercises that involve the chin tuck exercises can be a huge help.
  • Heat or ice packs application to the affected area.
  • Massage the neck area.

In chronic cases,  pain medication and injections can be done into the trigger point.  Acupuncture has also proven its worth in Text Neck cases.

Rehabilitation, on the other hand, is effective in the treatment of stress injury from Text Neck. 

Often, rehabilitation is customized into a 2–4-week program that will follow this order:

  • Mobilization of soft tissues
  • Mobilization of Grade 1 and 2 joints
  • Tight muscles’ active and passive stretches that will progress to muscle strengthening
  • A home exercise program to retain posture

Disclaimer: Always contact a physiotherapist for which exercises are best for you to do. These exercises can either benefit you or trigger further symptoms of underlying conditions when a physiotherapist is not consulted.

It is important to prevent Text Neck, regardless of age. Gadgets, especially those handheld devices have become a huge part of our daily lives, but it need not push us to experience health disorders.

For Text Neck concerns or any other health concerns for that matter, it is always best to consult medical professionals. 

If you are experiencing pain in the neck and shoulder area, you need help. Anytime, you can reach out to me and we’ll talk about how we can best plan your treatment and recovery.

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