Text neck is a repetitive strain injury to the neck caused by holding the head in a forward and downward position for extended periods of time. This is exactly the posture we adopt as we stare at our mobile phones. According to research, smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours a day with their head dropped down. According to Roy Morgan Research (2016), 9 out of 10 Australian teenagers aged between 14 and 17 years own a mobile phone. Clinically Text Neck is on the rise especially for teenagers and young adults.
The posture we assume when using mobile devices creates excessive amounts of tension in the deep muscles of the neck and across the shoulders which can lead to severe neck pain or Text Neck. Often this leads to headaches as well. If left untreated, Text Neck can lead to inflammation of the neck ligaments, nerve irritation and also lead to an increased curvature in the spine.
Signs and symptoms of Text Neck include pain in the upper back and / or neck when using a mobile device, constant aching or sharp pain in the neck and shoulders towards the end of the day, general shoulder pain and or tightness as well as headaches which is made worse when looking down.
When asked, most of us will agree that we cannot live without our mobile phones. By implementing the following guidelines, we can reduce the risk of getting Text Neck significantly.
- Make use of voice recognition
- Make phone calls instead of texting
- Alter texting positions in terms of head and neck posture
- Keep mobile device at eye level
- Strengthen your upper back, neck and shoulders
- Stretch your chest and neck muscles
- Take regular breaks every 10 – 15 minutes
Physiotherapy treatment for Text Neck is conservative in nature and is very effective in reducing the signs and symptoms. After your physiotherapist assesses your posture and function of your neck, they will be able to confirm the main issues causing your neck pain. In general, treatment can include posture correction exercises, soft tissue massage, neck joint mobilisations, taping techniques and Dry Needling / Acupuncture.
For further information or to make a booking with a Physiotherapist, please call Ellenbrook Physiotherapy on 08-9297 1188