What is Text Neck?

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Texting, candy crushing, and surfing on your tablet or phone? Experiencing neck strain, pain in your shoulders, and persistent headache? Stumped? I’ll take “What is text neck?” for $500, Alex!

Text neck is a condition that develops when the head is frequently in a forward, or downward, facing position when a person is looking at a tablet or phone over an extended period of time. This posture causes the neck to unnaturally flex, forcing the surrounding muscles to adjust in order to accommodate the position. Pain can radiate from the head and neck out into the wrists. Text neck may also cause headaches and tension in the shoulders. In some cases, the tension may be strong enough to pull your spine out of alignment.

If you see a physician for your pain, he or she may have difficulty linking your neck pain to improper posture while using a mobile device. Text neck symptoms are very similar to symptoms of tension or stress headaches. The symptoms should lessen when the affected individual establishes corrective posture.

On your device all day every day? Check it before you wreck it. All joking aside, when holding your mobile device, check your posture. You should hold the device up—and away—from your face and take frequent breaks from surfing. Even when you’re lying in bed using your device, make it a point to periodically get up and walk around—to grab a glass of water, for example. And be sure to have pillows supporting your lower back when you crawl back into bed.

Are you still experiencing pain after adjusting your mobile-holding habits? PT—or physical therapy—can help. A physical therapist can assess your posture and provide strengthening exercises and stretches to help you eliminate pain.

Ultimately, smart posture, stretching, and strength training can keep your phone or tablet from becoming a real pain in the neck. If you can’t correct the issue on your own, then definitely #GetPT.

Have you heard of text neck? Have you suffered from it? Comment below to share your experience.

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