IntroductionIn the digital age, access to information, mobile entertainment, and global communication have significantly evolved. For such activities, we enjoy using our smartphones, tablets, laptops and other electronic hand-held devices.
It has greatly become a part of our everyday lives – so much, that we even spend over 4 hours a day using our mobile phones alone. Most people will be on their phones from the moment they wake up until right before going to bed.
Are you the same? If it is a yes, then you may be at risk of having text neck.
What is Text Neck?
A term coined by Florida chiropractor Dean L. Fishman, D.C., Text Neck is a syndrome resulting from the prolonged periods of leaning your head forward and looking down on your mobile devices (for reading, browsing, accessing our social media accounts, etc.,).
In the long run, this may cause neck pain and serious injury.
It was called text neck citing that texting has been one of the most common means of how people communicate through their phones.
If you still have not grasp the severity of text neck, here are two alarming facts about text neck which may surprise you:
- It affects more than 4 billion people in the world (Text Neck Institute, 2016).
- Fishman even cites it is a global epidemic.
The Signs and Symptoms Associated with Text Neck
When a person leans one’s head people forward, the weight of the head increases dramatically. The more you lean forward and look down, the greater is your chances of having a text neck.
It can even affect your shoulders, spine, and other vital organs of the body.
Here are the several signs and symptoms that you need to look out:
- Tightness in the shoulder area
- Neck soreness
- Chronic Headaches
- Sharp back pains
- Postural Changes
- Pains in other body parts including arms, wrists, and elbows
- Tingling sensation and numbness in the upper extremities
It can also be determined whether a person is affected by Text Neck from the results of the individual’s x-rays in the spinal area. Healthy individual do have a subtle curve in the spine while affected people have a very straight spine.
Pains in the different parts of the body can also lead to discomforting muscle spasms. At worst, it can even affect your nerves.
Can Text Neck Get Worse?
If you are experiencing some or all of the symptoms mentioned above, it will be best to treat the syndrome at the earliest time possible.
Through time, Text Neck can become very serious that it may cause permanent damage to your body. It affects your nervous system thus pain and discomfort may be felt all over the body.
Among the alarming effects of a worsened Text Neck are:
- Earlier onset of arthritis
- Inflammations in the neck, nerves, ligaments
- Increased spine curvature (The young adults day are most vulnerable to it as they use their mobile devices even while walking).• Spinal misalignment and degeneration
- Disc compression and herniation
- Gastrointestinal complications
- Permanent damage to the cervical spine
- Reduced lung capacity
As it is, Text Neck can become really worse. You will not only suffer neck pains for a lifetime but you will also be burdened by the grave complications that affect many of your body functions.
The Different Options Available for the Treatment of Text Neck
However, don’t worry! There are many treatment options, which can help alleviate the symptoms and reverse the permanent damages caused by Text Neck.
To treat your condition, it will be critical that you seek chiropractic care or undergo a complete medical examination to before undergoing any treatment.
Some of the available treatment options are:
- Relief Medications (NSAIDS, Pain relievers, Muscle relaxants, etc.)
- Cold Laser Therapy
- Massage Therapy
- Heat Therapy
- Exercise that can Help Improve Posture
- Spine Surgery
In severe cases, there are people who may have already had neuropathy. A professional specializing in neurology shall be consulted for specialized treatments.
Tips on How to Prevent Text Neck
Indeed, prevention is always better than cure.
Preventing Text Neck won’t have to necessarily mean that we should also prevent using our phones – it will very hard to do so! The key is to have better habits.
Hence, we provide you a list of the things you can do to avoid having a Text Neck:
- Perform exercise routines that can help improve your posture such as doing Yoga, Pilates, etc.
- Keeping your phone in the eye level or use your phone while lying on your back to relieve neck pressure.
- Do stretching exercises that target your core muscles or those that enhance flexibility to enable to support your neck and back more efficiently.
- Find time away from gadgets. Even a few minutes will do! You just need to take frequent periods of rest while using them. You may do some exercises or stretching.
In many ways, electronic devices are among the must-haves in today’s generations. They provide us convenient means to access information and entertainment, to communicate with other people across the world, and many more.
However, it is important that you must be responsible in using these devices to your advantage. Extensive use of these devices can cause serious conditions such as Text Neck. It has been affecting many people in the world and shouldn’t be ignored.
As prevention, take frequent breaks away from your phones, perform several exercises to improve your posture and flexibility, and above all, choose a healthier lifestyle and the better habits.