There’s no denying we live in a technology-driven modern world with the average American spending at least 5 hours on their phone each day. Chances are, you’re even reading this article on your phone or tablet. So, it’s also no wonder that these powerful devices are the culprit of a condition known as text neck among people of all ages. But what is text neck, what are the symptoms and how can you treat and prevent it?
What is Text Neck?
Text neck is the pain and muscle tightness that results from continually looking down at your phone or similar technology, like e-readers, handheld gaming devices and tablets. Typically caused by the poor posture, text neck compresses and tightens the muscles, causing soreness in the neck, shoulders and upper back. This condition is also characterized by slouching shoulders and hunch back.
As is, your neck has a natural C shape with the opening facing away from you. And in a neutral position, your head weighs about 10 to 12 pounds. However, when positioned forward and down – as it is while texting – your head can weigh as much as 60 pounds when held at a 60-degree angle. So, this added stress can cause your neck alignment to drastically shift in the opposite direction.
What are the Symptoms?
Depending on how frequently you use your phone, the way you hold your device and your posture, text neck can range from slight discomfort to extreme pain in the neck, back and shoulders. In some cases, this condition can even cause true injuries, especially when left unaddressed. Common symptoms include:
- Neck soreness or tightness
- Radiating pain in the arms and hands
- Shooting pain when using a phone
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle spasms
Treatment Options for Text Neck
Due to the growing reliance on technology, it can be difficult to fully avoid all symptoms of text neck. Fortunately, there are both treatment and maintenance options that can help you stay comfortable and pain free, including chiropractic care and massage.
Because the strain on your neck disturbs the natural curvature of your spine, chiropractic care is a clear solution for this condition. Your chiropractor will use manual adjustments to restore proper alignment and relieve pressure from pinched nerves.
Your chiropractor also focuses on a holistic approach to wellness, so they will offer lifestyle changes that may alleviate the severity of this condition. These treatment plans include daily stretches to relieve tension, as well as pointers on the proper way to hold your phone to avoid poor posture.
Holding your neck in an unnatural position for hours a day as many of us do causes muscle tension and spasms. Massage therapy works to relax contracted muscles and release knots to ease pain. The gliding techniques help soothe inflammation and increase blood circulation to heal any damage that has occurred from text neck.
Even if you don’t feel that your symptoms are severe, it’s possible that you’ve just become accustomed to the toll that texting takes on your body. Periodically checking in with a chiropractor at Total Body Chiropractic & Massage can help you restore and maintain proper balance and live life more comfortably.