Text Neck – A Growing Epidemic

With the huge explosion and prevalence of mobile phones, smartphones, and tablets over the last few years, I’ve seen a new condition all too often lead to neck pain, muscle tension, and headaches in my office. “Text neck” is the term that’s been coined to describe it and it’s only going to get worse in the future as these devices expand even more into our lives. This condition is named so due to having incorrect head posture while texting

Texting is a very popular method of communication for everyone. These days you see people everywhere with their heads down and their eyes glued to their phones, texting away. It’s not just the texting, however; it’s also using our phones for games, the internet, and other various activities. Far too often though, the phone is held so low, in our laps, when we do the texting that the head is much too forward and flexed down. This puts a great amount of strain on the joints and ligaments of the cervical spine and the muscles that support the structure.

With recent studies showing that children and teens between the ages of 8 and 18 send an average of 118 text messages per day, and there’s now a total of over 4 billion mobile phones worldwide, not only is this only going to become much more prevalent, but it’s also going to effect a younger segment of our population and possibly have neck and headache problems begin for them at much earlier ages than it has in the past. Text neck is a major concern for those of all ages because of the long-term effects on children. Improper text messaging posture could result in long-term effects. Your head could be more forward, and your shoulders could be rounded.

The simplest solution for this is to bring the mobile phone more to eye level. You want to hold the phone so it is perpendicular to the floor. Sure, it’s a tough habit to get into, like any habit, but it’s a necessary one. Make a conscious effort to do this and then it becomes more habit and you don’t have to think about it.

If you’re feeling that creeping soreness and tension in your upper back or neck, and if you’re getting headaches when you’ve been using your phone too much to text, give us a call. Remember, it’s always much easier to fix a problem when it’s in the early stages than it is when it’s let go for too long and lingered to a worsening level. I look forward to helping you.

–     Dr. Brent Shealer– Pittsburgh, Monroeville, Penn Hills Chiropractor

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