‘Text neck’ or ‘text neck syndrome’ is a term used to describe the distinctive forward-leaning deformity of the head and neck caused by prolonged use of mobile devices such as smartphones, and is considered to be a type of poor posture where the chin is pushed forward excessively.
When holding smartphones especially, there is a tendency to hold them at a level much lower than that of the eyes, and as such we have to bend our neck forward and down to see the screen, which can have detrimental effects on its alignment and health.
There are various degrees of severity associated with a text neck, based on how far forward the cervical spine is pushed. The position of the head is important, as the further away it is from where it should be, the greater the weight and pressure that is applied on a specific portion of the neck.
How to Recognise Text Neck
In addition to the visible deformity of the neck itself and text neck pain, there are other indicative signs and text neck symptoms associated that can appear with this condition:
- Rounding of the shoulders. The shoulders can also be affected as holding and operating a mobile device requires the use of more than just the neck itself. As such, the tendency to lean forward and inward affect the shoulders in a similar manner, where they tend to round forward, downward, and inward.
- Pain in the neck and shoulder pain, and sometimes even headaches can be present, due to the increased load that is placed on this part of the spine when the head is leaning too far forward for prolonged periods of time. Sometimes even jaw pain may occur.
- Stiff neck, where it feels tense and difficult to move.
- Straining of the neck muscles
Pain Management and Treatment Options
Inflammation and pain levels can be reduced and improved with lifestyle changes, although these can be difficult to implement given out increased reliance on mobile devices. However, as every little helps, making changes to the way you handle mobile devices can make a big difference. Try the following tips first:
- Improve your posture while using electronic devices, such as by adjusting your chair and desk so that your screen is at eye-level, reducing the need to stare down. Also try holding your smartphone at eye-level. You can prop your elbows on a table to prevent your arms from getting too tired from holding the phone up. If possible, you can simply reduce overall screen time.
- Take a break from your screen every now and then, and stretch your whole body.
- Engage in exercises that help improve your posture and strengthen your back.
How to Properly Correct a Text Neck
While habit changes can indeed make a difference, an even better approach is to decompress your spine using spinal decompression therapy. The reason why this can be highly beneficial if you suffer from a Text Neck is because you are highly likely to suffer from compression of the spine (including at the level of the neck).
In a Text Neck, you spine tends to slouch and arch forward. Because it is not kept straight, the spine might get used to being in this slouched position, and as such, it may feel odd or difficult to keep your spine straight again. The problem is that this can create a vicious cycle, where the more your spine stays slouched, the more the structures that make up the spine get pressed down, increasing your chance to develop compression of the spine, which can cause chronic pain.