Texting is the need of the hour these days. Whether it is an SMS or chatting with someone using number of applications that are available today, it is not uncommon to see people texting constantly. A recent study conducted came to the conclusion that more than 80% of the population between the age of 17 and 40 used their cell phones for almost 24 hours a day except for maybe a few hours of sleep in between.
This is precisely the age group, which goes to the emergency room frequently complaining of severe neck pain. Now the question arises whether there is any connection between the cell phones and the neck pain that such individuals experience. Neck pain can be caused due to various reasons like a bad sitting posture or any problem with the cervical disc.
However, neck pain caused due to mobile phones is something which is quite new and not known to many people. This article tells all about whether constantly texting can cause neck pain or not.
Can Texting Cause Neck Pain?
The answer to this question is YES, constant texting tends to cause neck pain(2). Majority of the people most of the time use their laptops or cell phones either leaning forward or slumped back in a chair, especially during daytime. This makes the head tilt forwards putting undue pressure on the neck and the shoulders.
Whenever someone uses mobile phone to text someone the neck hunches forward and the elbows are bent. This results in an awkward posture with pressure being exerted on the neck muscles. This is what causes the severe neck pain. In medical terminology, this condition is called as Text Neck.
Text Neck is a condition in which the cervical spine gets damaged due to constantly looking at the cell phones or a tablet for prolonged periods of time(1). Looking down to read a book is something that everyone does and has been doing for years, but when texting, we are not only reading the message, but we are also typing it and that too for long periods of time.
The trend of texting has grown to such proportions that even young children are damaging their cervical spine permanently resulting in constant neck pain. Additionally, constant texting not only causes neck pain, but also affects the upper back or the thoracic spine causing severe sharp upper back pain.
As the shoulders are also in an awkward position while texting, they also get affected causing shoulder pain or spasms. Studies have also suggested that Text Neck can lead to onset of early arthritis in the neck causing a variety of symptoms.
Text Neck: Prevention is Better than Cure
It is always better to prevent the onset of Text Neck by following certain practices. First and foremost, hold the phone at the level of eye as much as possible. This will not put extra pressure on the neck and shoulders when texting or looking at the screen.
The second strategy is to take frequent breaks from being on the phone(3). Spend time with your child or a pet for half an hour or so before going back to the device.
This will not only prevent neck pain but also lessen the strain on the eyes.
To conclude, constant texting can cause neck pain and in some cases even permanent damage to the cervical spine. Thus, it is advisable to avoid looking down on the phone for long periods of time with a hunched forward posture. In case if you have Text Neck, then rehabbing the neck is of utmost importance.
This can be done strengthening the core muscles of the body as they are the muscles which support the upper back including the neck. You can go to the gym or contact a physical therapist on which exercises to do for strong core muscles.
Also, keep stretching the neck muscles whenever you are on the phone to keep them flexible and relieve some of the pressure being put on it.However, it is better to indulge in limited texting and use your phone only when absolutely necessary to avoid any permanent damage to the cervical spine.
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