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A Modern Spine Ailment: Text Neck

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 devices too frequently and for too long.

And it seems increasingly common. Recently, a patient came into my practice complaining of severe upper back pain. He woke up and was experiencing severe, acute, upper back muscle strain. I told him I believe the pain is due to the hours he was spending hunched over his cell phone. Diagnosis: Text neck.

Of course, this posture of bending your neck to look down does not occur only when texting. For years, we’ve all looked down to read. The problem with texting is that it adds one more activity that causes us to look down—and people tend to do it for much longer periods. It is especially concerning because young, growing children could possibly cause permanent damage to their cervical spines that could lead to lifelong neck pain.

Text neck most commonly causes neck pain and soreness. In addition, looking down at your cell phone too much each day can lead to:

I believe, as some studies suggest, text neck may possibly lead to chronic problems due to early onset of arthritis in the neck.

How common is text neck?

A recent study shows that 79% of the population between the ages 18 and 44 have their cell phones with them almost all the time—with only 2 hours of their waking day spent without their cell phone on hand.1

How is text neck treated?

First, prevention is key. Here are several pieces of advice for preventing the development or advancement of text neck:

The bottom line is to avoid looking down with your head bent forward for extended periods throughout the day. Spend a whole day being mindful of your posture—is your head bent forward when you drive? When you watch TV? Any prolonged period when your head is looking down is a time when you are putting excessive strain on your neck.

Next, rehabilitation is important.

 

Some people will also benefit from a more comprehensive treatment plan, such as a combination of manual adjustments, massage therapy, and cold laser therapy.

Original article can be found here.

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