Texting, gaming and engaging in other activities with hand held devices have created a new epidemic of tech-related health problems. “Text neck” refers to the strain that is put on the muscles of the neck when it is held in one position for too long. As individuals start to spend long periods of time with the neck in an awkward position, there is an increase in the number of complaints related to neck pain.
What Happens When Text Neck Develops?
For many people, first hearing about “text neck” is comical. However, the doctors at The Spine Institute Los Angeles want to share some of the science behind this condition and how it may be more serious than first perceived.
When the head is held up straight in a natural position, the neck is supporting about 10 pounds of weight. For every 15 degrees of head tilt, the neck carries approximately 15 more pounds of pressure. Of course, most individuals carry on throughout the day moving their heads frequently with the weight load on the neck muscles in constant change. Text neck occurs when the neck is bearing excessive weight from head tilt for extended periods of time. The shoulders also become rounded and the nerves in the cervical spine may become compressed.
What Are the Symptoms?
Individuals who are suffering with text neck experience discomfort from shortened cervical muscles that are causing pain from being in a constant state of contraction. They also can feel symptoms caused by cervical nerve compression such as tingling and pain that travels down the arms and into the fingers.
How Can it be Relieved?
There are a few simple steps that individuals can follow in order to help relieve the symptoms of text neck. Developing awareness throughout the day of how to avoid maintaining a constant downward position of the cervical spine is important. Relief can also be found with the following measures:
- Take time out periodically to gently rotate the neck
- Set a time limit for using hand-held devices
- Get a professional massage to release the contracted muscles
- Visit a chiropractor or physical therapist
- Try yoga
For more information about neck pain or discomfort, reach out to the Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration today at (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation or contact us by filling out our online form.