Woman with neck pain

A Real Pain in the Neck: Text Neck

In Head & Neck Pain, Health & Wellness, Injury Prevention, Physical Therapy by Advance TherapyLeave a Comment

by Ginny Rieger
Fun Fact: On average, people spend about 2-4 hours per day on a phone or tablet device. Younger people often spend more time than that.

“Text neck” describes the posture we adopt while looking down at our phones. Our heads are down and our necks move forward so that our heads are in front of our shoulders. This is called forward head posture, and this is often a major contributor to shoulder pain, neck pain, numbness and tingling in the arms and hands, and frequent headaches. Those who have forward head posture also tend to slump their shoulders, which only serves to make the problem worse.

On average, the human head weighs about 10-12 pounds. When the neck is bent forward, the weight on the cervical spine can be as much as 60 pounds, depending on the degree at which the neck is tilted. In fact, when our necks are at just a 15-degree angle, the weight on the cervical spine can be 27 pounds. That is a CRAZY amount of weight, and our spine is not designed to accommodate all that weight for long periods of time!

Long term, this can lead to permanent changes in the curves of our spine, and make all those unpleasant symptoms become a chronic pain issue, and can even eventually lead to surgery.

Don’t panic! I am not suggesting that you chuck the phone and give up your Candy Crushing dreams! There are a few things you can do to help offset some of this!!

  1. Hold the phone at eye level! This can help decrease the slouch.
  2. Move your eyes instead of your whole head. Keep your neck neutral, and glance down with your eyes.
  3. If you know me, you know I love to tell people to stretch! STRETCH!! Frequently!! If you need some specific stretches, come see me!

Posture is so important, and such a factor in our daily lives, especially in the digital age. So many of the things we need or love to do encourage poor posture, and this can quite literally be, at the very least, a huge pain in the neck! If you are having issues with your posture, neck pain, numbness and tingling in your arms and hands, frequent headaches, please come see me. There are many things we can do to help you live pain free!

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