Activities as simple as texting or checking social media can affect your quality of life more than you can imagine. With everyone’s busy lifestyle dominated by technology, text neck is on the rise. This condition is characterized by chronic neck and shoulder pain, and can put a serious strain on your professional and personal life. Read on to learn everything you need to know about causes, symptoms, and treatments for text neck to stay healthy.
Statistics show that the number of texts sent monthly in the US has increased dramatically over the years. As a result, text neck has became increasingly common. Described as a a repetitive stress injury, it is sustained by spending too many hours hunched over the mobile phone, tablet, or other device.
Text Neck Research
Is text neck real? According to chiropractor Dean L. Fishman, D.C., text neck is a worldwide epidemic caused by texting and other forms of wireless media. Text neck research reveals that the postural disorder is linked with severe headaches, chronic neck pain, and even decreased lung capacity.
Causes of Text Neck Syndrome
Text neck syndrome occurs when your head is leaned forward, away from its neutral position. If the disorder is not diagnosed early and treated correctly, it can result in inflammation of the nerves, muscles, and ligaments in the neck. In severe cases, spinal misalignment and permanent arthritic damage can occur.
Of course, text neck is not only caused by excessive texting. Activities as common as board games, reading, or household chores can all play a role in the development of this condition.
Text Neck Symptoms
Typically, text neck causes a dull, aching neck pain and stiffness, and if not treated early may lead to more serious health problems. Here are some text neck symptoms to watch out for:
Pain and tightness in the shoulders at the end of the day.
Upper back pain that ranges from a sharp, burning pain to severe muscle spasms in your upper back.
Constant headache that gets worse while driving.
Pain that radiates down to elbows, wrists, and fingers.
A tingling feeling in the upper extremities.
Soreness in the neck, back, and shoulders.
A change in the curve of the cervical spine.
A stiff neck in the morning.
Diagnosing Text Neck
The upper region of the spine is normally curved, allowing the nerves space to travel through the neck and other areas of the body. However as this space starts to close-off, pain and other complications can occur.
If you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms for text neck, see your doctor immediately. Your doctor may recommend an X-ray, as it produces detailed text neck images that may help find potential complications. Text neck may result in permanent damage if not diagnosed early.
Potential complications include:
How to Fix Text Neck
Text neck treatment is comprised of bracing, hot and cold therapy, medications, manual adjustments, and simple stretching exercises. See some of the most effective options below.
One of the most safe and effective solutions to alleviate symptoms of text neck is to wear a quality neck brace. Choose one that offers superior injury support and pain relief. By wearing a neck brace, you can train yourself to keep your head and back straight as well as strengthen your muscles.
Cervical collars are intended to protect the neck and relieve pressure in the spine. Wearing a neck brace can help you get used to holding your device in front of your face, keeping your body aligned properly.
Hot or Cold Therapy
After a few minutes in the freezer, a gel ice pack can reduce your neck pain easily. Try one now! ( See Product on Amazon)
Text neck can be treated with self-care at home. Applying a gel ice pack for ten to fifteen minutes can reduce pain and swelling. Cold therapy is advisable for text neck, as it can temporarily close the blood vessels and prevent inflammation from getting worse.
Many over-the-counter drugs, such as NSAIDs and muscle relaxants, are available for symptom relief. They can help ease discomfort by preventing pain signals from reaching the brain. However, caution is necessary when using medications. Read the label and follow the directions to avoid overdose.
Text Neck Chiropractic Care
One other alternative is manual manipulation of the spine with the help of a licensed chiropractor. Some find relief from text neck chiropractic care, which can eliminate or reduce muscular tension and restore normal joint function. Be sure to let your doctor know if you are considering chiropractic adjustment.
Text Neck Exercises
Another great way to relieve pain and discomfort is to get into the habit of doing quick and simple text neck exercises. Listed below are some simple text neck stretches that may help relieve your symptoms and prevent reinjury.
Step 1:Stand in the corner of a room with your feet shoulder-width apart and your palms on each side of the wall.
Step 2:Slowly lean toward the wall corner as comfortably as you can. You should feel the stretch on your neck, shoulders, and chest.
Step 3:Hold the position for about 30 seconds (or whatever time you can tolerate), then relax.
Step 4:Perform three to five repetitions per day.
Levator Scapula Stretch
Step 1:Lean against the wall, then slowly bring your chin downward to the left side of your shoulders until you feel the stretch at the back of your neck. You can use your left arm to hold your head in place.
Step 2:Gently raise your right arm to stretch the muscles of the levator scapula.
Step 3:Hold the position for at least ten seconds, then lower your arm back down.
Step 4:Return to the starting position.
Step 5: Perform eight to ten repetitions on each side.
Deep Neck Flexor Stretch
Step 1:Lie on the floor, then place your arms on your sides.
Step 2:With your chin tucked slightly, slowly lift your head as much as you can.
Step 3:Hold the position for 10 to 20 seconds, then relax.
Step 4:Perform three to five repetitions daily.
Text Neck Recovery
Text neck recovery usually takes around four to eight weeks. The healing time however can vary greatly depending on the severity of your condition and compliance to your treatment plan. Follow-up care is essential, as recurrence of text neck can occur.
You can make several simple changes in your lifestyle and daily posture to prevent the advancement of text neck.
Take frequent breaks from gadgets every fifteen to twenty minutes.
Hold your smartphone or tablet at eye level.
If you are going to use a laptop or desktop computer, make sure to set it up properly. An overbed table can make a big difference when trying to improve posture.
To improve your posture, try yoga or Pilates. Doing these posture-focused exercises can lessen the strain on your shoulders and neck.
To reduce the number of people suffering from text neck, try a specialized app that can monitor your standing and slouching patterns. Quality apps include a text neck indicator when you lapse into bad habits. With the immediate feedback offered by the app, you and your primary health care provider can look back at the data and analyze.
Preventing Text Neck Pain
Many people are unaware of the consequences of excessive phone use. Prevention is key when it comes to chronic text neck pain, though the advice above can make a big difference. Make sure to wear the right neck brace, strengthen your neck, improve your posture, and find better lifestyle habits. Even a small change in your routine can make a big difference in your everyday life.
Jessica Hegg is the content manager at ViveHealth.com. Avid gym-rat and nutrition enthusiast, she’s interested in all things related to staying active and living healthy lifestyle. Through her writing she works to share valuable information aimed at overcoming obstacles and improving the quality of life for others.
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