17 Nov What is text neck?
“Text-Neck”, or an anterior head syndrome, is postural strain of the neck muscle that is caused by bending your neck forward while staring at your smartphone or other devices for hours per day. But don’t think you are alone in experiencing this condition; we are all guilty of and used to staring down at our phones, laptops and other gadgets for hours at a time that we are completely unaware of what this is doing to our posture.
The average adult head weighs approximately 4.5-5kgs when balanced on top of your cervical spine (neck) with correct posture. Every 10-15 degrees forward the head bends, the weight of your head increases by approximately 6kg. With the head bending up to 60 degrees forward this can add about 25-30kg additional weight to your cervical spine. The impact of this is that the cervical neck extensor muscles (the Erector Spinae and Trapezius) are elongated and put under additional stress as they are overworked to hold your head up as the weight increases.
As with any prolonged use of any muscle, they can become fatigued, and when the muscles are fatigued, they become tight, tense and painful. This can result in tension-related headaches known as cervicogenic headaches. Thus, if one were to think about how long we spend using our devices on a daily basis with our head hanging forward, it is no surprise that we are experiencing increased neck and shoulder strain that results in discomfort, pain, inflammation and tension headaches.
Text-neck can also cause the following effects to the spine:
- muscle strain,
- pinched nerves,
- herniated discs,
- cause the natural curve of the neck to reduce.
Poor posture not only affects the neck and spine, but it also has detrimental effects to the rest of the body, such as:
- Neurological issues,
- Heart disease,
- and can cause breathing issues.
How to reduce the risk of Text-Neck:
- Avoid using your devices for prolonged periods of time.
- Avoid holding the device down low and causing your head to bend forward. (This includes using a laptop, on your lap).
- Try to keep devices at eye level, using a stand or separate screen will help to keep your eyes, head and neck at the correct position.
- Take regular breaks.
- Stretch your neck when taking a break (Do not rush through the stretches, do them slowly to avoid injuring yourself).
Try these two stretches to help relieve tension and tightness in the neck and shoulders:
Squeeze your shoulder blades together to activate and strengthen your upper back and shoulders.
2. Bring your head slowly towards your shoulder to stretch your upper trapezius. Remember to keep your opposite shoulder down and not to pull too hard.
Osteopathy is a holistic approach that uses hands-on techniques to diagnose, treat and prevent musculoskeletal conditions. Osteopathic treatment is perfectly safe to be used alongside other forms of treatment.
Contact us at OsteoVision if you would like to discuss your symptoms, have any questions regarding your posture or would like to book an appointment. Our team of highly skilled professionals are always on hand to assist you.
Call: 03303 904 300
You can also book an appointment online at www.osteovision.life
Holistic Bodyworks. 2018. Text Neck – What is it and how can the Osteopaths at Holistic Bodyworks help?. [online] Available at: <https://www.holisticbodyworks.com.au/text-neck/> [Accessed 26 September 2021].
Tattersall, L., 2019. ‘Text Neck’ is real!. [online] Bodilight Osteopathy. Available at: <https://www.bodilightosteopathy.co.uk/text-neck-is-real/> [Accessed 26 September 2021].