In the age of smartphones and tablets, we find ourselves looking down more and more often. When we look down, this creates immense pressure on our necks. This often leads to text neck: the pain associated with looking down at these screens too frequently and for too long. While we also look down while reading, technological advances have made it so the time we spend slouching, looking down, and placing pressure on our necks has dramatically increased. This is especially concerning when we think about all the time young children and teenagers spend on their iPads or phones; in young, growing bodies, text neck could result in permanent damage to the cervical spine and lifelong pain.
Symptoms of text neck include:
- neck pain
- upper back pain
- upper back muscle spasms
- shoulder pain and tightness
- neurological symptoms if a cervical nerve becomes pinched
- early onset of arthritis in the neck
How can I prevent text neck?
- Try to hold your cellphone or tablet at eye level as often as possible to alleviate pressure on the neck.
- Take frequent breaks from looking at your cellphone, laptop, or tablet throughout the day by doing some light massage on your neck or taking an exercise break.
- Set up computer screens so that they are at eye level.
- Stretching and exercising regularly.
Text neck can also be significantly alleviated and prevented using massage therapy. Massage therapy styles such as acupressure massage, deep tissue massage and shiatsu massage can all be applied into preventing and lessening the symptoms of text neck. Focusing on acupressure points below the base of the skull can relieve text neck symptoms of arthritis, stiff neck, and neck pain. Acupuncture can also be used in curing text neck and as a preventative measure.