Don’t Let “Text Neck” Fool You!

Not long ago you may have heard the term “painful Blackberry Thumb” which was caused by too much texting on PDA’s and small phone keyboards.  Today’s technology is causing more than just thumb pain.  Doctors and chiropractors warn that mobile devices may be the cause for neck strain, headaches and pain in the shoulders, arms and hands.

A Florida chiropractor coined the phrase, “Text Neck” after noticing 90 percent of his patients coming in with the same complaint.  It’s starting younger and younger with patients as young as 3 years old who love playing games on electronic devices. When people hunch over their mobile gadgets to text, type, watch videos and play games: all that curving of the body may cause debilitating pain that could last a lifetime.

text neckThis has turned into an epidemic.  You can see for yourself at any public place you will notice this posture of almost everyone around you.  It’s a global condition, however, Americans alone send billions of text messages according to the US Census Bureau, and that number can only be increasing.

“Text Neck” is actually not a new condition, but it’s getting more attention because so many people are suffering from it. Doctors used to call it forward head posture caused by poor ergonomics of sitting a lot throughout the day and leaning forward to work on computers.

As smartphones and other devices are an integral part of many people’s lives, the physical effects of using the devices has increased.   Scientists have discovered that neck pain may be only the beginning of phone-related problems.  Studies have found that half of phone users suffer numbness or neck aches while 83 percent reported some hand and neck pain during texting; and also displayed signs of tension, like holding their breath and increased heart rates.

Chiropractor Dori Cole located in Guilford, CT recommends anyone who uses electronic devices more than a couple hours per day should consult with their chiropractor before developing symptoms.  Your chiropractor can help you to avoid creating poor postural habits.  Symptoms of poor posture could range from aches and joint pain to sharp neurologic pain.   To avoid text neck symptoms, Dr. Cole, DC suggests a few steps to follow:

1-      Take breaks often, stand up

2-     Tuck your chin while using the device

3-     Stretch shoulders back and down while tucking your chin and opening the chest area

Massage therapy also may be beneficial in avoiding “text neck” symptoms by calming the physical and emotional tension caused by using the gadgets; as well as, a specially trained massage therapist can assist with correcting posture and perform hands on techniques to release the shortened anterior muscles of the neck and chest caused by hunching over your electronic devices. 

Contact your healthcare provider if you are currently experiencing symptoms such as neck pain, shoulder, arm, or hand discomfort.  

by:  Dorothy Ruggiero, LMT

SeaStones Natural Therapies, LLC

Guilford, CT
Dori Cole, DC