Do you have a dull, achy pain in your neck at the end of each day? If you spend time texting from your phone or viewing a tablet, you may suffer from “Text Neck.”
Doctors warn that the physical stress of texting increases pressure on neck muscles.
Holding your head in the downward posture many texters assume can add up to 30 pounds of extra weight on your upper vertebrae. In addition to straining the fibers of your trapezius muscles, that kind of stress can pull your spine out of alignment.
“Text neck is fundamentally an overuse injury,” says Dr. Danny Song, director of physical therapy at PainCare of San Diego. “It’s a condition that can affect people of all ages, but those in their 50s and older have less tissue tolerance and won’t heal as quickly.”
In addition to conservative treatment involving physical therapy and possibly medications, Dr. Song recommends that patients change their texting and tablet behavior. “Instead of looking down, just bring up the phone or tablet up to eye level, and try to keep your neck and back in a neutral position,” he says.
For those in real pain, physical therapy can help by lengthening shortened muscles and teaching better postural habits until patients regain full range of motion. But you can start relieving pain today by:
- Holding your phone up when you text or play games so that you’re not looking down
- Dictateing your text messages instead of looking down to type them
- Giving yourself regular breaks from your phone or table
- Staying hydrated, which helps relieve overall stress on the body
For more information about relieving neck pain, please contact Dr. Song and his physical therapy team at 858.202.1546.