Image depicting someone looking down at their phone which causes Text Neck

Text Neck – What is it and how can the Osteopaths at Holistic Bodyworks help?

At Holistic Bodyworks, a common condition we see is Text Neck, a postural strain of the neck muscles linked to….you guessed it looking down at our Phones!

We spend so much of our modern lives using smartphones, laptops and other gadgets, completely unaware of what this is doing to our posture.

What causes Text Neck?

The average adult head weighs approximately 4.5-5kgs when balanced on top of your cervical spine (neck) with correct posture. Every 10-15 degrees forward the head moves, the weight of your head increases by approximately 6kg. With the head up to 60 degrees forward of the neutral position this can add about 25-30kg additional weight.

The impact of this is that the cervical neck extensor muscles such as the Erector Spinae and Trapezius are elongated and put under additional stress to hold your head up as the weight increases.

Why does Text Neck result in neck pain?

As with any prolonged use of any muscle, they can fatigue. It’s when muscles fatigue that they start to tighten and create tension and pain which can also lead to tension related headaches known as cervicogenic headaches.

If we think about how often and how long we are using our phones with our head hanging forward, we can often relate this to an increase in neck and shoulder pain, discomfort and cervicogenic headaches.

A 2016 article by Seong-Yeol Kim and Sung-Ja Koo on the effect of duration of smartphone use on muscle fatigue and pain caused by forward head posture in adults showed that “the pain and fatigue worsened the longer the smartphone use”.

What can you do about it?

  • Avoid prolonged usage of smart phones and laptops
  • Avoid holding the device down low and causing your head to move forward. This includes using a laptop, on your lap!
  • Use a stand or separate screen so your eyes are looking forwards.
  • Have regular breaks
  • Stretch and strengthen – These should be done regularly and slowly, no bouncing!
    • Open your chest using a towel/foam roller
    • Squeeze your shoulder blades together to activate and strengthen your upper back and shoulders.
    • Bring your head slowly towards your shoulder to stretch your upper trapezius. Remember to keep your opposite shoulder down and not to pull too hard.

For more on the specific technique visit the previous blog posts on

Are you experiencing neck pain or tension headaches?

The Osteopaths at Holistic Bodyworks will thoroughly assess, diagnose your neck pain. We will then discuss a treatment plan with you that includes both in-clinic hands on treatment and at-home management strategies.

To start feeling better today, book an appointment online with an Osteopath, Myotherapist or Remedial Massage Therapist for an assessment today.

 

 

Reference:

Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 2016 Volume 28 Issue 6 Pages 1669-1672, Effect of duration of smartphone use on muscle fatigue and pain caused by forward head posture in adults by Seong-Yeol Kim and Sung-Ja Koo https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jpts/28/6/28_jpts-2015-926/_pdf/-char/en

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