There’s a new “buzzword” making the rounds in the health news: Text neck, a term used to describe neck pain and damage caused by looking down at a mobile phone.

Text Neck is on the rise!

But why does this modern condition cause pain and discomfort when people have always bent their necks to read?

Texting adds another activity that relies on the neck and head bent forward Y people tend to do it for long periods of time. Even more concerning is the fact that teens and children could be at risk of permanent neck damage, which could even cause lifelong discomfort.

So what are the signs and symptoms of this new age complaint?

Text Neck usually presents with neck ache and pain, but can sometimes cause sharp and severe muscle pain in the upper back. Other symptoms can include:

  • Sharp pain in the upper back or shoulders.

  • Stiffness and pain in the shoulders.

  • Shoulder muscle spasms

  • Pinched nerves in the cervical spine, causing pain and neurological symptoms.

  • Early-onset arthritis

So why is excessive texting so bad for our neck health?

When we use our phones to send text messages, our posture adds stress to the neck that can cause a lot of wear and tear. Our heads weigh between 10 and 12 pounds, but this weight increases significantly as we tilt our heads to look at our mobiles. Since many smartphone users spend hours with their head tilted, excessive pressure is often placed on the cervical spine. People often get carried away when texting or using their smart devices. Regular breaks from being in the bowed head position are often overlooked or forgotten.

In a normal standing position, the head faces forward and the curves of the spine and neck remain correctly aligned. When the chin falls towards the chest, the entire cervical structure is stretched.

So how is Text Neck treated?

Better safe than sorry when it comes to treating Text Neck. Here are some effective tips to prevent the condition from developing or worsening:

  • Make sure to hold your mobile phone at eye level as much as possible. Just like you would with a laptop or desktop screen, your mobile phone or tablet should be placed in a position that is naturally comfortable for you. If you need to tilt your head forward or look down to see the screen, adjust the position until it is at eye level.

  • Take frequent breaks away from your mobile phone or tablet. If you think you are likely to be distracted, set the alarm to remind you to put the device down and walk every 20 to 30 minutes. It is also a good idea to implement a strict “mobile-free” time in your day. Turn off your phone; put it aside and out of your mind. This will soon become a habit and you will probably find that you really enjoy the break!

  • If you work at a computer, be sure to adjust the screen so that your head is in line with your shoulders and spine.

Remember that it is not just your mobile phone that can put you at risk for symptoms associated with Text Neck. Think about the posture you take when you do other daily activities. Do you tilt your head forward when you drive? Do you tilt your head when you watch television? Anything that causes you to look down for long periods of time can put you at risk for developing painful and uncomfortable symptoms.

Take a moment to check and adjust your position. Take regular breaks and walk. These small changes can prevent you from developing chronic pain.

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