Text Neck Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Text Neck Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Text neck syndrome can cause pain from constantly craning your neck to see the screen. Since many people seem to be attached to their smartphones, this syndrome has become increasingly common. The more time you spend looking down at your phone or other mobile devices, the more text neck symptom will impact you.

Talking on the phone doesn’t seem to cause the issue, but frequently bending your neck to text or play a game can. Your smartphone is a way to call friends and family, do research, take a picture, and do countless other things. For some people, staring at the phone happens more frequently than anything else.

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However, text neck syndrome can even happen to people that aren’t constantly on their phones. Anytime you lower your head to look at your smartphone, you increase the risk of developing text neck syndrome.

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When you overuse your neck or overextend it for frequent extended periods, it leads to pain. With the fast-paced world we live in, it seems that constantly communicating via text or other messaging and social media apps is hard to resist. If you have this problem, you must implement a lifestyle change before it becomes a chronic condition.

What is Text Neck Syndrome?

text neck syndrome
Text neck syndrome is not an official medical diagnosis. Instead, it is a term used to explain repetitive stress injury from looking down at a mobile device.

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Your neck contains a complex section of your upper spine, the cervical spine. The cervical spine has seven spinal vertebrae and 26 muscles that support your head and allow a range of motion. While it can move up and down or side to side, it isn’t designed to stay extended.

Since the average head weighs ten to twelve pounds, your spine and muscles come equipped to balance it. Your neck works like a spring to suspend your head over things you’re doing, extending the neck and resulting in poor posture. The further your neck extends downward, the more the unnatural strain and force affect your body.

When you keep your head lowered to read texts or scroll social media, the pressure can increase to sixty pounds. This excess pressure leads to severe neck pain, and the issue is becoming more widespread as people spend more time on devices.

Text Neck Symptoms

The symptoms of text neck are painful and uncomfortable. If you notice that you have any, avoid looking down and start making a lifestyle change. The symptoms include:

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  • Pain in the upper back, neck, or shoulders
  • Intense stabbing sensation
  • Forward head posture with rounded shoulders
  • Reduced mobility in the neck, upper back, or shoulders
  • Headache
  • Increased pain when the neck flexes forward
  • Tingling, numbness, or weakness in the neck or shoulder area
  • Balance issues
  • Jaw pain
  • Painful muscle spasms
  • Tightness across the shoulders

In more severe cases, you might experience:

  • Early-onset arthritis
  • Spinal degeneration
  • Muscle weakness
  • Disc compression
  • Loss of lung capacity
  • Abnormal curvature or rounding of the upper back, or a flattening of thoracic kyphosis

Text Neck Syndrome Causes

There are not many causes of text neck syndrome, but there are a few, including:

  • Frequently looking down at a mobile device for extended periods of time
  • A strained muscle in the back or side of your neck due to overstretching of muscle fibers and tendons
  • Hanging your head forward, increasing the force on your neck
  • Stressed muscles, joints, and ligaments from being overworked

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How is Text Neck Syndrome Treated?

If you see a doctor for the pain from text neck, they will ask a series of questions and examine before suggesting treatment options. The doctor will ask about your medical history, family health history, exercise and diet habits, medications, and symptoms. Then, they will do a physical exam to check for anything unusual.

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Treatment options might include these.

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