The modern working world, and the technologies that make it possible, can quite literally prove a pain in the neck. A painful chronic strain disorder known as text neck can plague computer and smartphone users who tilt their heads down to consult their screens. Take a look at three key points about this occupational hazard.
1. Why Text Neck Occurs
Your head weighs about 12 pounds. When you hold it in a balanced, level posture, your neck can support it easily. However, the more you allow your head to droop forward and downward, the more pressure your cervical spine experiences, from 27 pounds of pressure at a 15-degree tilt to 60 pounds at a 60-degree angle.
Many people spend hours each day consulting a smartphone or computer screen. If those devices sit too low relative to your eyes, you may consciously or unconsciously adopt a drooping head position. The extra pressure on the neck can throw the cervical spine out of alignment and make your neck muscles strain in compensation.
2. What Text Neck Feels Like
Text neck causes intense pain and tightness in the neck and shoulders. These symptoms can severely limit the range of motion in your neck. You may also develop upper back pain, headaches, vision issues, muscle spasms, an altered neck curvature, and degeneration of the cervical spine.
If the strain pinches a nerve in your cervical spine, the impingement can affect the ways nerve signals travel from this part of the spine through your upper extremities. As a result, you may suffer from pain, numbness, or tingling in an arm or hand.
3. How to Overcome or Prevent Text Neck
Fortunately, you can get over your case of text neck through the use of simple conservative treatment techniques. For instance, chiropractic adjustment can help shift your neck vertebrae back into their normal alignment, helping your neck support your head with less musculoskeletal strain.
Your chiropractor may also recommend exercises to relieve your neck pain and stiffness. Examples of such exercises include an exaggerated nod as well as yoga poses such as downward-facing dog, cat-cow, padahastasana, and bow poses. Massage therapy can complement exercise and chiropractic treatment by relaxing the neck muscles.
Ergonomic changes in your work routine can help you avoid future bouts of text neck. Raise your computer monitor so you no longer have to droop your head to view the screen. Get into the habit of holding your smartphone at eye level. Ask a chiropractor—such as Eric Schmetterling DC—about other smart ways to banish text neck from your life.