Text neck, is it real and what are the health implications?
25 Mar 2017
Text neck is the term used to describe the neck pain, damage and in some cases even disfigurements which are cropping up. These complaints are as a direct result of sustained looking down at digital devices. It is quickly becoming apparent that our digital era is not without its unique set of medical concerns.
The bending your neck to look down does not only occur only while texting, but the duration and time spans have increased primarily due to the digital age and the growth of devices which are continually on hand. The problem with modern day devices, texting and even reading is that it adds one more activity that causes us to look down. This is especially concerning when it comes to future generations. Mainly because of the permanent damage it can cause to newer generations and their cervical spines, maybe even ending up in lifelong neck pain.
Text neck, what are the symptoms?
The problem with text neck is the same as any other prolonged period in a fixed position. We are made to move, no be in a state of suspended animation. Therefore, holding your head in any position for prolonged periods is going to cause pain and discomfort.
Symptoms include any of the following:
– neck pain and soreness
– upper back pain ranging from a chronic, nagging pain to sharp, severe upper back muscle spasms.
– shoulder pain and tightness, possibly resulting in painful shoulder muscle spasm.
How common is text neck?
Recent studies in the USA show that up 79% of the population between the ages 18 and 44 have their mobile devices on hand at all times. Statistics indicate that a person spends only 2 hours (while awake) per day without a device on hand. (SpineHealth.Com)
How is text neck treated?
Prevention is key because without change the aggravator remains continual. Poor posturing places increased stress on soft tissue and bony structures, creating muscular imbalances. The constant bending results in ongoing pain and inflammation. Physiotherapy and pain medications offer temporary relief. In short, limit your texting habits!
Can text neck affect your body in other ways?
Yes, the constant downward pressure on the neck will cause a permanent ‘creasing‘ of the skin in the neck area. Headaches and migraine are also caused by continual texting and abuse of the neck. In closing, the bottom line is to avoid looking down for extended periods during the day, take time out and stretch.