Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates

Text Neck: What It Is and What You Can Do About It

For many years, most people have known that using modern technology and electronic devices can take a toll on the body. This is especially true in office settings, where people spend long periods sitting at desks and looking at computer screens.

In recent years, medical professionals have identified a new way in which using electronic devices can have an effect on the body. This condition, called text neck, can cause discomfort and even long-term pain for some individuals.

If you experience pain after using handheld electronic devices, you too may experience text neck. Here is what you need to know. 

What Is Text Neck?

Text neck is a condition that occurs when a person puts strain on their neck by looking down. Text neck is so named because it is a condition people commonly experience after spending long periods looking down at their phone.

Text neck can occur even if the patient does not look down at their phone to send and receive text messages. Patients may experience text neck after looking down at a laptop, tablet, or any other mobile object or device.

This condition occurs because the head is heavy and looking down places strain on the spinal column. Looking down for extended periods can actually impact posture and cause the spine to become bent. For young people still growing, text neck can cause chronic pain and long-term problems.

What Are the Symptoms of Text Neck?

The most obvious symptom of text neck is neck pain, which a person usually experiences after texting. Upper back pain is another symptom of text neck. Upper back pain can come in waves, can be a dull throb, or may occur in spasms. The pain is different for everyone. Other symptoms of text neck include:

  • Radiating arm and shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • Persistent headache, especially after using electronic devices
  • Dull, regular shoulder pain

In fact, text neck can even cause a permanent change in posture. Over time, a person who puts too much strain on their neck and back could have a permanent hunch.

How Can You Prevent Text Neck?

Text neck is much easier to prevent than to treat. One of the most effective ways to prevent text neck is to hold electronic devices up when using them. This ensures that your head will have a proper position on the spine. If you must hold your phone below eye level, look down with your eyes and keep your head pointed straight.

You can also prevent text neck by taking frequent breaks when using handheld technology. Avoid texting for long periods. When engaging in a long conversation with someone over text message, use voice controls to speak your texts instead of typing them. This makes texting without looking down for long stretches of time easy for you.

What Can You Do to Treat Text Neck?

The way that you treat text neck will depend on the severity of the problem and your personal medical history. The first thing you should do if you think you might have text neck is to contact your medical professional. A good medical professional can evaluate your condition and make treatment recommendations. 

Many medical professionals will start by properly diagnosing the condition. Diagnosis may involve a physical examination or an x-ray of the affected area of the body.

Once the medical professional is certain that you have text neck, your doctor may recommend a combination of the following therapies.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a method of treatment that requires you to use your muscles to strengthen the affected part of the body. Physical therapy can help improve circulation and mobility. Physical therapy will also help you develop flexibility to improve your resilience to injury.

Home Exercises

Exercising at home is a good way to improve flexibility and improve posture. Your medical professional can show you what exercises to do and can tell you how often to do these exercises.

Regular Physical Activity

Although doing specific exercises can help your text neck, so can engaging in everyday physical activity. Going for long walks, running, playing basketball, and playing with your pet are all ways that you can improve your text neck symptoms.  

Surgery

In severe cases, text neck can lead to a herniated disc. If this happens, you may require surgery to relieve your pain and enable your body to heal.

Contact Your Neurosurgeon for More Information

In recent years, many neurosurgeons have started treating patients suffering from text neck. If you think that you might have text neck, contact your neurosurgeon. 

At Southwest Florida Neurosurgical & Rehab Associates, we are happy to answer your questions about this painful condition. Contact us today to find out more. We look forward to resolving your pain issues and getting you back to where you want to be in life.

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