Text neck is a new generation medical term to describe repeated stress injury and pain in the neck resulting from excessive use (watching or texting) of hand held devices in same position for a prolong period of time. This condition is a growing lifestyle and health condition with the continuous progression in mobile user population all over the world. It is also an alarming sign for children especially who has given their greater tendency to mobile phone usage. Recent studies show that around 87% of teenagers (14-18 years) in USA and 79% teenagers (12-15 years) in UK own and use smartphones.
Not only neck pain, it can also cause shoulder pain, upper back pain, headaches and increased thoracic kyphosis.
Symptoms of Text Neck
The most common symptoms of “Text Neck” include:
- Stiff neck: soreness and difficulty in moving the neck is usually present when trying to move the neck after long usages
- Pain: Pain can be localized to one area or may be diffused over an area, usually lower part of the neck. Sometimes there can often be radiation of pain into the shoulders and arms.
- Muscular weakness: Neck & Shoulder muscles such as- scalene, trapezius, rhomboids and shoulder external rotators are often weak.
- Headache: Sub-occipital muscle tightness can lead to tension type headaches/ cervicogenic headache.
In addition to these common symptoms there can also be:
- Flattening of thoracic kyphosis
- Early onset arthritis
- Spinal degeneration
- Disc compression
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of lung capacity
Prevention is the key when it comes to Text Neck. The following recommendations should be kept in mind while using smartphones or other hand held devices:
- Hold your phone/device at eye level as much as possible.
- Take frequent break from your phone and laptop.
- Set a timer to remind you to walk around every 20-30minutes.
- Avoid looking down for an extended period of time.
- Make sure you sit squarely to your work screen.
- Avoid holding large or heavy devices in one hand for long duration.
Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation is found to be very effective in treating the stress injury resulting from Text Neck. It can be designed as a 2-4 week program depends on the severity of condition. So consult with a Physiotherapist if you are suffering from Text Neck Syndrome.