Most of us know how much our neck and upper back can be affected by using some form of technology. We have all felt the pain when sitting at a desk using a computer or simply from long periods of time texting on our cell phones; however, most of us haven’t heard the term “text neck”.
Text neck is an actual “thing”. It is a repetitive stress injury that is caused by long periods of time spent looking down at your cell phone, your laptop or other wireless devices. These types of prolonged actions can actually contribute to poor posture and neck pain (text neck). In addition to neck pain and poor posture, it can cause shoulder and upper back pain and headaches.
What Causes Text Neck?
When you are sitting up straight, the weight of your head reportedly puts only about 10-12 pounds of force onto the muscles of your neck. But for every inch that your head goes into a forward position, another 10-12 pounds of forces is added to that. Think of how many added pounds of force you are putting on your neck if you moved your head forward just by 6 inches….AN EXTRA 60-72 POUNDS of added weight and stress on the neck. Text neck is caused by repetitively putting your neck in to positions that it is not supposed to be put into. So sit up, pull back those shoulders and bring you head up to neutral…believe me you will notice a difference.
Signs and Symptoms of Text Neck
- You may feel soreness and tightness in your upper back and shoulders
- You may even feel pain and soreness as soon as you start using your device
- You may feel upper back and neck pain that could range from aching pain that just doesn’t go away to muscle spasms in the upper back and neck
- ongoing chronic headaches
- If not treated, “text neck” could lead to arthritis, curvature of the spine and general inflammation in the neck and upper neck.
How Can You Prevent Injury?
It is important that when you first notice symptoms that steps are taken to prevent further problems. The purpose of treating text neck is to reduce the pain and inflammation, restore range of motion, prevent what could become a permanent spinal curvature.
However, Text Neck can be prevented by:
- Take breaks from working on your device – Text neck is considered to be a repetitive strain injury and any repetitive strain injury can be prevented by taking regular breaks and changing position.
- Change the way you are holding your device – Instead of working with a head forward and down position, try holding your device up higher so that it is aligned with your eyes. This will give your neck and upper back a bit of a rest.
- Be active in exercise that focuses on posture (ie.: yoga) and do simple neck stretches.
- Listen to your body! If you are feeling pain in your neck, your back and your arms, take a break.
- Add regular self-care such as massage therapy into your routine. Maintenance is key to long-term health. Reach out to us to book your New Client Massage today.