Text Neck: A growing epidemic
If you’re reading this text from a hand held device and constantly slouching there is a very high chance that you will get text neck. Text neck is a real epidemic and as the title suggests “a growing syndrome”. The term “Text neck” was coined by a chiropractor Dr Dean L Fisherman in the US, but it is also known as turtle neck posture. It is said that people spend around 5 hours daily viewing their cell phones which leads to different types of aches in the body.
Along with the advancement in technology, there has been an increase of unprecedented nature in the need and use of mobiles. Handheld devices like smart phones, e-readers and computer tablets are seen in almost every household and are used without paying much heed to the consequences. How alarming is the fact that this condition is affecting everyone- from children to adults. The severity of the problem should be determined from the fact that it is not only the cause of neck pain but other multitude of health concerns.
The symptoms of text neck do not take much long to manifest. The minute you bend your head forward and downward to read from the device and keep repeating this action for a long period of time you make yourself prone to issues in the cervical spine. The bending of neck puts a strain of atleast 27 pounds on our neck. The more the bending of the neck, the greater the strain on the cervical spine which leaves the spine vulnerable to stiffness, pain and sprain leading to repetitive stress syndrome. Following are some serious health implications and symptoms:
There is a difficulty encountered in moving the head sideways when neck and cervical spine get stiff and fatigued. This is the resultant of holding your cell phone for too long.
Muscular weakness is another symptom of text neck. Trapezius muscle and shoulder rotator muscle are the most affected and vulnerable.
Tension type headaches can result from tightness in the sub-occipital muscle.
Cervical spondylosis or early onset of cervical spine osteoarthritis is another health concern associated with text neck.
Damage to lung capacity:
Lung functioning is also undermined as lungs lose the ability to function at optimum.
Prolonged and unnecessary use of smartphone can also lead to compression of cervical spine inter vertebral discs
Managing text neck could be easy if due care is taken. Following steps are to be taken for preventing text neck:
- Avoid excessive use of hand-held devices and take regular breaks in between if required.
- Position your device such that it places minimum strain on your neck and shoulders
- Refrain from prolonged typing and holding one device for long.
- Use pillows which supports neck and spinal alignment.
- Use icing or heat to give relief to the affected region and use a doctor-prescribed steroid if the pain doesn’t go away.
- Physiotherapy which includes mobilization and stretching and do regular exercises which include neck rotation and side bending.