Text Neck Syndrome: How Your Chiropractor Can Help
Your neck pain and headaches could be symptoms of text neck, a condition that's become increasingly common in today's tech-obsessed world. Easing your pain can be as simple as visiting the chiropractor and changing the way you hold your devices.
Do You Have Text Neck?
Accidents due to distracted walking or driving aren't the only dangers of texting. Bending your head while you look at your phone stresses the vertebrae and tissues in your neck and may cause chronic pain. Although the condition is called "text" neck, it can occur if you use any type of digital device or participate in activities that require keeping your head bent for long periods.
Your neck is designed to support the weight of your head in an upright position. Bending your head at a 45- to 60-degree angle puts 50 to 60 pounds of stress on the neck, rather than the usual 10 pounds, according to SPINE-Health.
Text next can affect anyone and may cause symptoms after just a few hours. If you keep your head bent while you text or work, you may experience these symptoms:
- Neck Pain
- Frequent Headaches
- Muscle Stiffness and Spasms in Your Neck, Shoulder and Back Muscles
- Pain Between the Shoulder Blades or in the Back, Jaw, Arm or Hand
- Numbness and Tingling in Your Arm and Hand
- Posture Changes and Balance Problems
Pain isn't the only problem you may notice if you have text neck. Stress and strain could damage the discs that cushion the bony vertebrae in your neck and back. These rubbery discs absorb shock and help you move and change position easily. If one or more spinal discs bulge or rupture, your pain may increase.
Bulging or ruptured discs may pinch the nerves that travel from your neck to your arm and hand. Symptoms of a pinched include pain that travels from your neck to your arm and hand, tingling in your hand and fingers, and weak shoulder, hand, and arm muscles.
A pinched nerve may also occur due to a subluxation. Subluxations happen when one or more vertebrae move out of their normal position due to increased strain on your neck. In addition to causing spinal misalignments, subluxations tighten tissues around the nerves, which can also cause pain.
If you ignore your text neck symptoms and don't change your habits, you may develop arthritis or bone spurs in your neck. Unfortunately, these conditions will only worsen your pain. Eventually, your upper back may become hunched due to permanent changes to your spine.
How Can My Chiropractor Relieve My Symptoms?
Turning to your chiropractor is a smart decision if you think you may have text neck. These healthcare practitioners specialize in treating conditions that affect the spine, joints, and soft tissues. Your chiropractor offers several treatments that relieve text neck symptoms, including:
- Massage. Massage loosens tight muscles and tissues in the neck, shoulders and upper back, easing pain. Natural pain relievers released during a massage enhance the effect and help you feel relaxed.
- Spinal Manipulation. Your chiropractor may perform spinal manipulation therapy if you have subluxations. Although people often refer to this treatment as "cracking" the neck, there's no cracking involved. Using quick movements, your chiropractor repositions misaligned vertebrae. Once everything's positioned correctly, tight muscles and tissues loosen and flexibility and range of motion improve. Inflammation, a key component in pain, also decreases after spinal manipulation.
- Exercises. The muscles in your neck, shoulders, and upper back help you keep your head upright. Text neck weakens those muscles, making it difficult to maintain proper posture. During your visit, your chiropractor will show you a few exercises that will strengthen your muscles and prevent text neck symptoms from recurring.
What Can I Do to Prevent New Symptoms?
Keep these tips in mind when you use your digital devices:
- Raise Your Phone. Hold your phone at eye level rather than in your lap or on a table or desk. A cellphone holder makes it easier to keep your phone at eye level.
- Take Frequent Breaks. Get up and stretch for a minute or two after you've been using your phone or device for a half-hour.
- Buy a New Chair. New York-Presbyterian recommends using an office chair that reclines 25 to 30 degrees. This position reduces stress on the neck and stops slouching.
Don't let text neck cause permanent changes to your spine. Contact our office to schedule an appointment with the chiropractor.
SPINE-Health: How Does Text Neck Cause Pain?, 10/26/2018
New York-Presbyterian: How to Prevent ‘Tech Neck”
The Alabama State Chiropractic Association: Tech Neck/Text Neck
WebMD: What to Know About “Text Neck,”10/12/2022