Text Neck Syndrome: What It Is and How to Fix It?
“Text Neck,” the newest buzzword you may have heard lately is affecting millennials across the globe. As tongue-in-cheek the phrase may sound, it’s an actual epidemic caused by overuse of mobile phones. Given that almost all of us are reliant on smartphones to make it through the day, it wouldn’t be wrong to conclude we may end up with this symptom if we’re not careful.
Dean L Fishman, D.C., a Florida-based chiropractor, who coined this phrase describes text neck to be a repetitive stress injury caused by hanging looking down at your mobile phone while hanging your head forward for an extended period of time.
Sure, you may be able bribe someone at home to give you a neck massage after an exhausting day, but that would be like putting a Band-Aid on a flesh wound. But we’re not here today to dwell on the problems; we’re here to give you practical advice on how to solve it.
So, let’s begin, shall we?
Symptoms of text neck syndrome
While soreness and neck pain are the most common symptoms, this syndrome may also cause:
- Pain in the upper back, ranging from nagging pain to severe muscle spasms
- Tightness in the shoulders, causing painful muscle spasm
- Rounded shoulders that cause overstretching of the upper back muscles and tightening of chest muscles
- In any case, a cervical nerve becomes pinched; painful neurological symptoms may even radiate down from the arm
Research even suggests that text neck if left untreated may even lead to chronic problems later on because of early arthritis onset in the neck.
So, as you can imagine, even proper lumbar support might not be enough for treating this condition.
5 easy ways to fix text neck syndrome
Now that you know what text neck means let’s talk about how to can prevent or even cure it.
Disclaimer: The opinion expressed here is ours and should not be taken as medical advice.
1. Use your Smartphone the right way
First things first – let’s learn the ideal posture for using your smartphone. If you do not have this syndrome yet, or if it’s in the beginning stages, following this advice will help you immensely.
- Whenever possible, hold your cell phone at eye level. Not at the level of your chest or anywhere underneath. This advice holds true even for other gadgets like tablets and laptops. The point is to not put yourself in a position where you have to bend your head forward and look down.
- This might sound obvious or perhaps even clichéd, but do not forget to take frequent breaks from using your phone or laptop. Set up an alarm to remind you to get up and take a quick walk or do a few stretches every 40 to 60 minutes.
2. Warm up your neck muscles
Neck exercises don’t have to stay limited to the gym. You can efficiently perform the neck circle exercise at home to prevent the muscles and joints in the neck from becoming stiff. If you use the smartphone or the laptop a lot, this safe exercise should help you build up a stronger neck.
How to perform:
- Sit or stand in a good posture, with your spine straight and chest slightly protruding out
- Gently move your neck in a circular motion – first clockwise, and then anticlockwise
- Repeat at least 10 times to reap the benefits and feel refreshed
3. Try out Chin Retraction
Did you know you can take a shot at making a “double chin” NOT with the intention of making fun of someone? And also do yourself some good in the process? Well, chin retraction exercises can help maintain your neck’s alignment by making the supporting muscles stronger.
How to perform:
- Sit upright; tuck your chin in gently with or without the support of your fingers
- Hold the posture for 5 to 10 seconds and then release
- Repeat the pattern at least 10 times
- Don’t forget to keep the neck and jaw muscles relaxed
4. Make wall angels
Okay, these might not be as fun as making snow angels, but they’re definitely therapeutic. The point of this exercise is to strengthen your back and neck.
How to perform:
- Stand against the wall, keeping your feet about 4 inches away, and the knees slightly bent
- Stand in a way so that your spine, glutes, and head are against the wall as you carefully bring together your shoulder blades
- Squeeze your shoulders at the end of the motion, making the letter ‘W’ with your arms
- Hold the posture for three seconds and then raise your arms higher up to form the letter ‘Y’
- Repeat the entire motion 10 times, beginning at ‘W’ and ending at ‘Y’
- Do at least three sets to loosen up your neck muscles
5. Scapula retraction
This is one of the standard shoulder exercises that can help you treat text neck and rounded shoulders, which cause the upper back muscles to overstretch and tighten the muscles in your chest. This is one of the simplest yet most effective exercises you can do at home.
How to perform:
- Stand straight with your head facing forward
- Gently retract the shoulder blades and then let them go back down
- Ensure that you can actually feel the muscles between the shoulder blades contract
- Repeat the steps until you feel a bit of fatigue
At the end of the day, you can only do so much to treat text neck syndrome by yourself. One mistake at home and you might even end up with a more severe injury, causing pain and forcing you to spend money on expensive forms of treatments like surgery.
That’s why we highly recommend getting in touch with our professional chiropractors who have experience in dealing with such conditions.
They’ll not only recommend you the best course of action based on your needs but provide structural correction with utmost gentleness and care.
So, don’t wait any longer and make the right decision.