Spending hours on your phone tilting your head down might not seem like that big of a deal initially, but this eventually leads to text neck syndrome.
The syndrome is a common posture-related condition that results from excessive use of handheld devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
If you have developed a text neck, you will feel excessive pain and stress on your neck and upper back muscles. While the text next is commonly seen due to the modern lifestyle, it’s often overseen due to a lack of proper knowledge.
What Is Text Neck?
We've all been there, glued to our smartphones for hours on end, and it turns out there's a downside to this digital habit.
According to a study by Kenneth Hansraj in the National Library of Medicine, millions of people spend hours each day staring down at their phones, and it's taking a toll on our bodies.
This poor posture, commonly known as "text neck," is becoming a serious concern. The study reveals that text neck can lead to some alarming consequences over time.
Imagine this: early wear-and-tear on our precious spine, leading to degeneration, and in some cases, even requiring surgery!
So, if you have been wondering what this is all about, text neck is a term used to describe that uncomfortable posture we sometimes adopt while using our smartphones, tablets, or laptops for extended periods.
You know that feeling when you're totally engrossed in your phone, and your head starts to tilt forward? That's text neck!
The odd angles of keeping our heads tilted for a long time eventually develop into a postural issue bringing neck pain, stiffness, or even headache.
Common Symptoms Of Text Neck
Diagnosing text neck might be difficult without expert intervention, as it shows some common symptoms that usual posture-related issues show. But here are a few symptoms to look out for:
1. Sharp Pain In The Neck And Shoulders
The prolonged forward bending causes extensive strain on your neck and back muscles leading to stabbing sensations to persistent, nagging discomfort. The pain might typically be around the shoulder blade area.
Text necks in adolescents and adults commonly show symptoms like muscle stiffness and a lack of mobility. can cause the muscles in the shoulders and neck to become stiff and tight.
This stiffness can limit the ability to move the neck and shoulders freely, making it challenging to turn the head or perform daily tasks comfortably.
3. Intermittent Or Constant Headaches
As the forward head posture in the text neck causes increased strain on the neck and upper back muscles, it can result in headaches. The tension headaches may vary from occasional to constant.
4. Nerve Pain
When you keep your head in a certain position for too long, poor posture can compress your nerves.
As a result, you might face tingling and numbness in the arms and hands. This nerve pain, known as radiculopathy, can flow down from the neck and shoulders into the upper limbs.
5. Eye Pain
Among the less common symptoms, many people complained about eye pain related to text neck alongside headaches.
This can occur due to the prolonged focus on a nearby screen and may lead to eye fatigue, dryness, or pain.
6. Postural Changes
Over time, a text neck can cause changes in the natural curvature of the spine. So, it may develop into a more severe condition like a hunched or rounded upper back.
How To Deal With Text Neck?
The first thing to change when you are dealing with text neck is your device usage and posture. However, here are a few things that will get you out of the condition:
1. Maintain Good Posture
Regardless of what you are doing, you need to always be conscious of your posture. Don’t tilt your neck too much while holding a device.
Also, try to keep your computer and tablet at eye level to avoid excessive bending of the neck. Sit up straight when using a laptop or desktop computer.
2. Take Breaks
This is a mandatory thing to remember, always limit your screen time throughout the day. Give yourself some break from staring at the screen for too long, and take short breaks in between your device usage.
3. Stretch And Strengthen
Stretching helps text neck condition more than exercises. So, you can Incorporate neck and shoulder stretches into your daily routine to improve flexibility and reduce tension.
4. Hold Devices Properly
When texting or reading on your phone, keep it at a good distance from your eyes.
Besides, hold it with both hands and distribute the weight evenly. Avoid cradling your phone between your shoulder and ear during calls.
Text Neck Exercises And Stretches To Do At Home
Here are a few exercises and stretches that will help you to better your condition. You can do these simply on your own, and they don’t require any specific tool.
1. Shoulder Blade Squeeze
- Sit with your back straight and shoulders relaxed.
- Press your shoulder blades together as if you are trying to hold something between them. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then release.
- Repeat 10 times.
2. Upper Back Stretch
- Clasp your hands together in front of you.
- Now keep your palms facing outward.
- Round your upper back and push your hands away.
- Now tuck your chin towards your chest.
- Hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat 5-10 times.
3. Chest Opener
- Stand tall and keep your feet hip-width apart.
- Clasp your hands behind your back.
- Now straighten your arms.
- Lift your arms slightly and open your chest.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades.
- Hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat a few times.
4. Side Neck Stretch
- Sit with your back straight.
- Reach your right arm over your head and gently tilt your head to the left.
- Hold for 10-15 seconds and then switch sides.
- Repeat 5-10 times on each side.
5. Chin to Ceiling Stretch
- Stand with your back straight.
- Look up towards the ceiling, keeping your mouth closed.
- Hold for 10-15 seconds.
- Return to the starting position and repeat a few times.
6. Chin Tucks
- Sit with your back straight and keep your shoulders relaxed.
- Gently fold your chin in towards your neck.
- Hold the position for 5-10 seconds.
- Repeat this exercise 8-10 times.
7. Upper Trapezius Stretch
- Sit with your back straight.
- Gently tilt your head to one side.
- With the opposite hand, place it over your head.
- Apply gentle pressure to enhance the stretch.
- Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side and perform 2-3 stretches on each side.
Is Text Neck Deadly?
Text neck itself is not deadly, however, it can cause discomfort and potential long-term health issues if you don't make an effort to correct it in time.
Eventually, it can be quite bothersome and lead to symptoms like neck and shoulder pain, headaches, and reduced range of motion.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can text neck be corrected?
Yes, text neck can be corrected through the incorporation of different stretches, lifestyle changes, exercises, and practicing better posture while using devices. Also, you need to limit your screen time.
What does text neck mean?
Text neck means when your neck and back are exposed to strain and pain caused by prolonged forward bending of the neck while using smartphones, tablets, or laptops.
This is developed due to the way we hold our head position while using our devices.
What is text neck called?
Text neck is also known as "tech neck". This is a term used to describe the posture-related condition resulting from excessive device use in a problematic posture.
Is text neck permanent?
Text neck may not be permanent, but if you don’t take the right measures in time, it can lead to long-term issues. Early intervention with posture adjustments and exercises can help prevent further complications.
The good news is that text neck is entirely preventable with some simple lifestyle adjustments. So, you can try our given methods if you think that you have this condition.
It’s better to consult a professional before you attempt to do any major surgery or try taking on any medications.