So what is Text Neck?
Hard to believe, but we still have a specific term for a medical condition caused by too much time spent on your mobile... 'text neck'!
The reality is that our postures have changed based on our phone habits. And we all do it, so there's no need to feel embarrassed or bad about it. Quite simply, Text Neck is a repetitive stress injury to the neck caused by holding your head in a downward position for extended periods of time. When in this position, tension is created in the deep muscles of your neck as well as across your shoulders. As you might already know if you're reading this blog post, this posture can cause acute& chronic neck pain. Headaches have also been linked to Text Neck.
WHAT EXACTLY CAUSES TEXT NECK?
In an upright posture, the weight of the average head exerts up to 5.5 kgs of force through the neck.
However, when you tilt your head forward by only 2 to 3cms, the weight of your head dramatically increases. Approximately 6 times as much force can be generated when your head is tilted forwards to use your phone. This translates to approximately 30kg, or 6 ten-pin bowling balls!
If left untreated, a ‘text’ neck can lead nerve irritation and increased curvature (lordosis) in the cervical (neck) spine. It can also develop an upper thoracic postural deformity known as a “dowagers” hump (a protruding lump at the base of your neck), which can result in alteration of the bone structure of your vertebrae in this region.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
‘Text Neck' may have one or more of these signs and symptoms:
- Instant or delayed-onset upper back or neck pain when using a handheld device, and for hours following use
- Nagging or sharp pain in the neck or shoulders at the end of the day or postural fatigue
- General shoulder pain and tightness ‘Head forward’ or ‘chin poke’ posture
- Intermittent or constant headaches made worse when looking down or using the computer
- Nerve irritation referring pain into your head or down your arms
- Limited neck mobility and muscle spasm.
PHYSIO & TREATMENT FOR TEXT NECK
WHAT FORM MIGHT YOUR PHYSIO TREATMENT TAKE IN ORDER TO FIX YOUR NECK & SHOULDER PAIN?
PHASE #1 - REDUCE NECK PAIN & INFLAMMATION
Inflammation greatly reduces inflammation. This inflammation then causes pain. of normal muscle and joint movement. Pain is the main reason people seek physio treatment and/or sports massage.
PHASE #2 - RESTORING RANGE OF MOTION IN YOUR NECK & SHOULDERS
As your pain settles, your physio will help with joint alignment and improving your range of motion. This will include muscle length, resting tension, muscle strength and endurance. Your physiotherapist will also look at your your muscle recruitment pattern and needs. They may also start you on a deep spine strengthening programme to facilitate dynamic control of your neck and head. They may also recommend a stretching programme and regular massage for ongoing care.
PHASE #3 - RESTORING FULL FUNCTION OF YOUR NECK & SHOULDERS
Depending on your lifestyle your physio with work to get your movement and function back to the standard that your lifestyle or sports require. Your individual needs will shape this phase of your treatment.