If you’re like us, you probably use your phone a lot.
Also, if you’re like us, you probably aren’t always aware of the posture you assume while using it (or any other tablet, laptop, or digital device).
Hint: chances are, it looks something like this:
- Head and neck flexed down and forward
- Upper back rounded
- Shoulders hunched and internally rotated
- Elbows bent and tucked in to the sides
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this posture per se, it can cause significant problems when you assume this position for prolonged periods of time, day in and day out.
WHAT IS TEXT NECK? CAUSES AND TOP SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Text neck is a clinical syndrome caused by excessive smartphone or digital device use, during which time a person is hunched over in the classic “texting” position described above. After hours and hours in that forwardly flexed position, the connective tissues in the head, neck, shoulders, and back can become strained, tense, and irritated.
Of course, reading and other activities can also resemble this position, but people tend to use their phones a lot more and a lot longer, thus contributing to this so-called “modern problem.”
Symptoms of text neck include:
- Stiff, sore, and tender neck
- Pain in the neck, which may be described as achy, dull, or even sharp
- Pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility in the shoulders
- Muscle spasms and knots in the back
- Jaw pain and dysfunction (e.g., clicking or misalignment)
If a nerve in the neck or shoulder area is impinged by repeated exposure to this closed in, flexed forward posture, additional neurological symptoms can develop including numbness, tingling, or even eventually weakness in the arms, hands, or fingers.
Beyond causing real-time problems now, text neck can even increase your risk of chronic health issues including osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and spinal misalignments.
HOW TO PREVENT TEXT NECK (AND HOW OUR RAMSEY PAIN MANAGEMENT TEAM CAN HELP)
Ramsey pain doctors Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy spend a lot of time educating their patients on ways to improve their body mechanics in order to minimize symptoms of dysfunction, and in recent years discussions about cell phone habits has been an essential part of these conversations.
Here are a few key things to try more often when using your cell phone:
- Hold your phone at eye level
- Keep your chin level (not pointed up or down)
- Relax your shoulders
- Take frequent breaks
In addition to minding your posture better, you can also alleviate your text neck symptoms by consulting with Dr. Ferrer, Dr. McElroy, or another one of our orthopedic and rehabilitative team members. Our services, which include osteopathic manipulations, physical therapy, electro-acupuncture, and more, can reduce your symptoms as you learn to adopt safer technology habits.
IS YOUR NECK BOTHERING YOU? OUR PAIN MANAGEMENT IN RAMSEY CAN HELP YOU GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT
Have you ever thought about how your technology habits are impacting your body? Our multidisciplinary pain management team in Ramsey can help you shed some light on your posture and smart phone use and help you figure out if and how it’s impacting your health. Give Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine a call today at (201) 962-9199, or feel free to contact us via email.