text neck image

Is your smartphone the cause of your neck pain?

Neck pain seems to be getting more and more common and a major cause of this is the modern lifestyle and this has led to the term “text neck syndrome”.

What is “Text neck syndrome”?

Nowadays we (myself included) seem to spend more and more time looking down at our phones or gadgets.  This is not a natural position to hold the neck in and the further forward we hold our heads the greater the force on our head.

Your head weighs about 10-12 lb but if you look straight down the force on your spine is about 60lb.  This strains the muscles and ligaments of the neck and shoulder and if left unchecked could eventually cause damage to the vertebrae in the cervical spine.

text neck neck pain

Text neck neck pain


The shoulders become more rounded and and a hump develops in the upper back as it curves too much (this is called kyphosis).   This is likely to impair breathing as your ribs can’t expand fully and lead to pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders.  It’s also not a very attractive look!

How can I tell if I have “text neck Syndrome”?

Some common symptoms are:

  • Pain and stiffness around neck and shoulders
  • Soreness in neck
  • headaches
  • Postural change
  • Numbness or tingling in arms and hands
  • Pain in the upper body

Try the postural test below as well.

Do You Have Text Neck? - Prevent Text Neck

Source: eReplacementParts.com blog

What can I do about it?

It’s not realistic to just stop using your smartphone or gadgets so you need to find a way to minimise the damage.  Here are some ideas

  • Minimise use of your phone.  There are some great apps to download to help you track your usage and set goals to use your phone less
  • Get into the habit of looking down with your eyes rather than tilting your whole head forward
  • Try to bring gadgets closer to eye level when possible so you are not tempted to look down
  • Be more active – text neck syndrome is just part of the problem caused by our sedentary lifestyles
  • Massage can help with pain and stiffness and help you to correct your posture.  Consider getting a regular massage to keep aches and pains at bay.

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