What is “Text Neck”?

Have you been hearing the about the newest diagnosis plaguing many American’s? Text neck is the term used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless device too often or for too long.

Why is “Text Neck” Bad For You?

The average human head weighs around 10 pounds; now imagine a 10-pound bowling ball on a stick. The stick is able to hold the weight of the bowling ball when the stick is upright, once you start to lean the stick forward; the stick starts to bend and eventually succumbs to the weight and pressure of the ball. Now, apply this scenario to your head and neck. The more you lean forward to peer at the screen in front of you, the more pressure you put on your neck.

The farther you look down at your device, the heavier the pressure of your head becomes. Even leaning forward just 15 degrees increases the pressure applied to your neck by 17 pounds.

Symptoms of “Text Neck”:

  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms
  • Mid-back pain

So, How Do You Avoid “Text Neck”?

  • Have your work station ergonomically correct-OSHA provides a great checklist at the link below
  • Be conscious of head position while checking your phone
    • Make an effort to stay in a neutral position with ears aligned with the shoulders
  • When able, hold phone in front of your face while keeping your back straight
  • Avoid spending hours each day in the hunched position
  • Take frequent breaks to stretch
  • Use just your eyes to look down, instead of using your neck

Relief from “Text Neck”:

  • Stretching

    • Upper Trapezius Stretch:

      • Place your hand on top of your head and relax both shoulders down and away from your ears. Without pulling, use the weight of your hand to tilt your head toward your arm, bringing your ear toward your shoulder.
      • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side
    • Door Frame Stretch:

      • Stand in a doorway with your arms on either side of the doorframe above your head. Take small steps forward until you feel a stretch across your chest.
      • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
    • Exercises:

      • Chin Tucks:
        • Sit up tall in a chair and keep your chin parallel to the floor. Gently draw your head and chin back, avoiding tilting your head to either side, as if making an intentional double chin.
        • You should feel a slight stretch along the back of your neck
        • Repeat 20-30 times 2-3 times daily
      • Shoulder Blade Pinches:
        • While sitting or standing straight, pinch shoulder blades together and back.
        • Hold for 5-10 seconds then relax and repeat
        • 15-20 reps, 2-3 times daily
      • Wall Angels:
        • Stand with back against the wall with your arms at a 90 degree angle and level with your shoulders. Make sure your tailbone and shoulder blades remain in contact with the wall
        • Raise arms above your head, try to keep elbows and wrists as close to the wall as possible. Lower arms to the starting position for the completion of one rep
        • Repeat 15-20 times, 2-3 times daily
      • When stretching and exercises are not enough. Seek help from your Doctor more in-depth stretching and rehabilitation may be required.