Don’t let your smartphone become a pain in your neck and avoid text neck with these tips

Finally, the time has come to break up with your smartphone, because guess what? It can give you the very painful text neck syndrome.
text neck
Text ain't no joking matter! In fact, it can be very painful. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Nikita Bhardwaj Updated: 16 Jan 2020, 17:20 pm IST
  • 53

Wherever you go I’ll follow you! No, we are not referring to the famous TV ad, rather your our extended body part–our mobile phone! If you’re glued to your cell phone, then say hello to text neck syndrome.

Our overwhelmed attitude towards our smartphones make us inseparable. We just can’t live without them even for a single moment. Hello, we can’t even go to the loo alone!

Texting, surfing, ‘gramming and what not–most of our time is eaten up by our phones. But the real damage happens when we’re in transit. Bowing down to this smartphone trap doesn’t sound smart at all when you realise how harmful it can be.

And ladies, you need to hear this:

Women are 1.38 times more likely than men to report neck pain due to cervical degenerative disc disease, according to a study of adult patients treated at Loyola Medicine’s Pain Management Center.

The study by Meda Raghavendra, MD and Joseph Holtman, MD, PhD, of Loyola University Medical Center and Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine in California.

But the big question is that have you ever wondered how technology or specifically cell phones are wrecking your neck and body posture? Let Dr Shital Gaikwad (PT), senior spine specialist & zonal head at QI Spine Clinic, Mumbai, spell it out for you.

Take this quiz: Just how addicted are you to your smartphone?

Text neck! What does it even mean?
“Text neck is a colloquial term used to identify the repetitive or stress injury at the structures around the neck due to the continuous neck bending during the use of mobile phones.”, said Dr Gaikwad. She added that, “Studies have shown that neck problems have risen in this generation than the previous ones.”

It begins with headaches and pain or discomfort around your neck, upper back, and arms. After which it shows its true colors.

Select Topics of your interest and let us customize your feed.


How can you avoid getting a text neck?
It’s all about taking breaks! Hear it from the pro: “The key is to take regular breaks from continuous neck bending or tilting postures to avoid repetitive strain every half hour.” Also, the criteria differs from person to person. With the correct posture and tilting angle, some people can avoid the capacity of the muscles around the cervical spine and the control continuous neck bending.

Ignoring text neck is not an option
Text neck usually presents itself with pain and discomfort around the neck, upper back, and arms or headache. Ignoring it can make things worse and can lead to neck pain, stiffness, and pain radiating to one or both arms, sore upper back, headaches, and dizziness. Also, cases of mid back pain, chest pain, and difficulty in breathing have also been reported.

text neck
Ignoring that pain in your neck will only make text neck worse. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

If not corrected at the right time, then be ready for conditions such as degenerative arthritis, cervical spondylosis, tension headaches, disc herniation, and kyphosis.

Also read: The cat pose is the yoga asana you need to end backache

Yes, it’s curable but determination is going to be the key
Dr Gaikwad says: “Text neck can be treated by isolating and strengthening the structures around the neck under stress. It also requires lifestyle modifications to maintain the results achieved through the treatment.”

And ladies, text neck has the potential to worsen or develop into severe conditions which may or may not be completely curable. We’re sure you don’t want that.

Text neck can ruin your posture. Can you take that chance?
Well, text neck is the result of prolonged forward bending. As a consequence alignment of the cervical spine goes for a toss and develops into a forward head and/or rounded shoulder posture, giving you a slouchy body.

Are there any treatments for text neck?
Of course, treatment is the only way out of this mess. Both acute and chronic stages have solutions.

In acute cases simple steps will also reap great results for you:

  • Warm-up exercises like a head rotation every 30-40 minutes is enough. Do 10 reps. Side and front neck stretches is another way out.
  • Chin and scapula retraction for 20-30 seconds will also relax the muscles around your neck.
  • Avoid texting and rely more on phone calls.
  • Applying an ice pack can reduce swelling and after a week you can continue using ice and hot water bottle therapy on alternate basis to cure muscle contraction.
  • Oil-based massages can also relax your muscles.
  • Lifestyle modifications are a must in the case of text neck as you need to avoid things that are leading you towards this situation, repetitively. Checking on your posture every now and then is a must.

In chronic cases you have already aggravated the situation and visiting a physician for proper checkups is advised. The physician will assist you with things like:

  • Therapies where your neck’s flexibility and strength will be improved.
  • Pain reliever injections, steroid-based injections, and injections triggering the problem areas might also be suggested by the doctor if things go out of hand.
  • Acupuncture is the Chinese way to treat this menace and has shown some great results as well.

In some cases, yoga poses have also shown some results but again it is always advised to train under proper guidance. Other than these, your physician is going to be your pal in pulling you out of this.

Stay away from your mobile for a tad bit and spare yourself the horror
No, we aren’t asking you to ditch your cell phone as that sure as hell ain’t going to happen. But certain things can be done to make things work. Quick breaks, avoiding unnecessary usage of cell phones for the heck of it, regular exercise, great sleep, and proper posture are enough to evade text neck, advised Dr Gaikwad.

Now that it’s a known devil, next time act smart while using your smartphone and avoid text neck from biting you in your spine.

  • 53
About the Author

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content. ...Read More

Next Story