Text neck is a condition that can be caused by looking down at your phone, computer, or other devices for extended periods of time. The weight of your head pulls on your neck muscles and spine, which can lead to pain and discomfort. Text neck is also known as laptop neck, gamer's neck, or mouse shoulder.
What causes text neck?
Just like how staring at a screen for hours can cause head and neck strain, people who regularly bend their necks to look down at their phones are putting a lot of stress on their cervical spine. This can lead to pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back, as well as headaches, vision problems, and even permanent damage to the spine.
Text neck occurs when the head bends forward at an angle, which causes excessive strain on the cervical spine or neck. It can lead to pain or soreness in the back of the head, upper shoulders, and neck that affects everyday life, work, and sleep.
It often begins with a feeling of stiffness in the neck, which worsens throughout the day. Pain may be intermittent or continuous, and it can increase when turning the head or tilting it down. Other symptoms include headaches, fatigue, ringing in the ears, and difficulty concentrating.
Text neck is often diagnosed based on symptoms and physical examination. Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans may be ordered if the cause of the pain is unclear.
What are the symptoms of text neck?
Michael Liougas from Global Health Phsyiotherapy states that there ahas been a consistent rise in the numbe of patents complaining of text neck. Michael is a top physiotherapist near Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto and says that many patients will experience many of the following symptoms before being treated for text neck.
- Muscle Spasms
- Nerve Damage
- Poor Blood Circulation
- Tight Shoulders
- Problems sleeping
- Eye Strain
- Back Pain
- Your neck feels stiff when you wake up in the morning.
- You feel like you can't fully rotate your head.
- You've developed chronic bad posture from constantly looking down at your phone/device.
- Neck pain
- Arm numbness
- Difficulty breathing properly
How to avoid text neck
- Don't hunch over your phone or tablet. Keep your spine in a neutral position by gazing straight ahead or slightly down.
- Invest in a phone or tablet case that stands up, so you don't have to hunch over to use it.
- Take breaks every hour to move your body and stretch your neck.
- If you're reading something on your phone, hold the device at eye level.
- Don't text while walking.
- Strengthen your neck muscles by doing neck stretches or yoga poses, to prevent pain and headaches.
- Learn how to use voice commands to avoid hunching over if you must use your phone while driving.
- When carrying a heavy bag on one side of your body, switch it to the other side every now and then. This will help you maintain good posture.
- If your job requires you to sit in front of a computer for many hours, stand up every ten minutes or so and stretch your arms over your head.
- Sleep on a firm mattress that keeps your neck straight while you sleep.
- Adjust the screen brightness and contrast on your devices to reduce eye fatigue.
- Use a larger font size on your devices so you don't have to look down as much.
- Try to keep your shoulders relaxed and down when using a mobile phone or tablet.
- Make sure your upper arms are not bunched up against the side of the body when you text.
- Use a fixed chair to allow you to sit with good posture whenever you're using your mobile device - rather than slumping in a lounge chair.
How to reverse text neck
- Stand up Straight: Stand up vertically, with your stomach pulled in and chest out.
- Keep your Shoulders Back: Pull your shoulders back so that they are in line with your hips.
- Decrease Staring Time: Every hour, take a thirty-second break away from looking at the screen to rest your eyes.
- Look up and Down: Alternate between looking up at the sky and down at the ground to give your neck a break.
- Stretch your Neck: Gently stretch your neck by tilting your head to the left and right, then forward and backward.
- Use Eye Drops: If you are experiencing eye fatigue, put a little lubricating eye drops in each eye to relieve the irritation
- Use an Eye Massager: If you are experiencing headaches, use an eye massaging machine to relieve tension and pressure.
- Go for a Walk: Get some fresh air by going outside and taking a walk; this will give your neck muscles time to relax.
- Drink Plenty of Water: Staying hydrated will help keep your body and muscles healthy and flexible.
- Practice Proper Posture: Make a conscious effort to sit up straight and maintain good posture when using electronic devices.
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