Although it sounds like an exotic illness, text neck is a curse of our modern, technology driven lives that often sees people crippled with pain. But what is it? And why are we seeing so many clients coming in to our osteopathic clinic suffering from it?
Joining the ranks of ‘Blackberry thumb’, text neck is neck or shoulder pain or damage, caused by looking down at your piece of technology – most often your phone or tablet. While it might seem like an innocuous action, repetitive movement to the neck and holding it downwards for long periods of time can create excessive tension deep in muscles. In turn, this creates acute and chronic neck pain that can span your neck, shoulders and even your head.
What are the symptoms of text neck?
- Upper back or neck pain when using a handheld device
- A sharp pain in the neck at the end of the day
- Shoulder pain
- Headaches that are made worse by working on a piece of technology or made worse when looking down
How can text neck be avoided?
It’s natural to expect most people to use their technology, and although we don’t suggest giving up tech for good, there are things you can do to reduce the risk of text neck:
- Hold your devices at eye level. This rule also applies to your computer screen and helps to reduce neck pain.
- Use phone voice recognition and favour calls over texting.
- Take regular breaks from your laptop or phone, getting up and walking around every 20 to 30 minutes.
- Avoid looking down with your head bent forwards for extended periods throughout the day.
- Work on your core muscles. These help support your upper body, such as shoulders, cervical spine and neck muscles and make them more resilient.
How does osteopathy help text neck?
The aim of osteopathic treatment is to reduce tension in the neck muscles and to address the posture habits that aggravate your pain. Through our processes, we look to mobilise joints, correct posture and undertake soft tissue massage that all help to alleviate pain and reduce unwanted symptoms.
If you suffer from neck or shoulder pain and headaches and think that your symptoms may be caused by today’s technology, one of our highly trained osteopaths can help. Please contact us to book an appointment.