“Text neck” is the term used by Beverly Hills spine surgeons to describe neck pain that sometimes results from frequently glancing down at various handheld devices to read and send text messages. The downward head motion associated with text neck adds about 60 pounds of extra pressure to the joints, muscles, and bones of the neck, often resulting in muscle stiffness. Taking certain precautions while texting can help avoid or minimize text-related neck pain.
Get into the habit of lifting your device eye level when sending and receiving texts to avoid placing that extra pressure on your neck from holding your head down for long periods of time. If you’re sitting, use a phone stand to keep neck movements to a minimum.
While it may be difficult to separate yourself from your phone, taking occasional breaks will be good for your neck. If that’s asking too much, change positions to avoid placing too much strain on the same muscles. Lying on your back is actually one of the best positions for texting.
Poor posture is only going to compound neck pain you may be experiencing from texting. It will take a few months of conscious effort to get into the habit of assuming a neutral position to achieve proper spine alignment, which includes:
• Pulling your shoulders back
• Keeping your head upright
• Refraining from excessive head tilts
Strengthening your neck muscles can help minimize neck pain from texting for those moments when you slip back into the habit of glancing down to read or respond to a text. Arching your neck and upper spine backward from time to time is one simple stretch you can do to relieve muscle pain. Also consider:
• Chin tucks
• Head rotations
• Shoulder rotations
Signs that you may be experiencing text neck can include sharp or persistent upper back pain, sudden shoulder pain, and pain extending to the arms and hands if cervical nerves become pinched. Treatment can range from physical therapy to restore neck strength to decompression surgery to relieve nerve pressure in severe cases, although this is often a last resort.
Interested in learning more about your treatment options for ongoing neck pain? Call The Spine Institute Center at (310) 828-7757 and schedule and in-person consultation with our experienced diagnostic team or a one of our board-certified spine surgeons leading the way in minimally invasive spine treatments and conservative non-surgical methods.