Text Neck: What is it and Can Massage Help?
Spinal alignment may not be something you often think about but it could has something to do with your neck pain problems. Smartphones tablets, and other wireless devices are notorious for causing the neck to strain in ways we don’t often notice until it's too late. ‘Text neck’ is a term used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from staring down at your cellphone, tablet, or other wireless devices for extended periods of time and far too often. It isn’t hard to believe that spending hours on end with your neck straining downwards would cause upper back muscle pain and acute neck tension.
Depending on the frequency at which you use your device, text neck could be something you’re experiencing. The amount of time human beings spend sitting and looking at screens has unprecedented effects for overall feelings of wellbeing, circulation and posture.
Spending time distracted and seated can lead to the development of poor posture which can compound the effects of neck pain even further, creating long-term persistent tightness or soreness in the upper regions of the back. It is true that human beings have been looking down for centuries for activities like reading, but the amount time that wireless devices add to this position is slightly concerning.
Some studies suggests that text neck may even be linked to the early onset of arthritis in the neck. Text neck is all too common in the modern age. Research suggests that 79% of the adult population (ages 18-44) have their cell phones with them almost all the time, spending a mere 2 hours of their waking day away from their cell phone.
Common symptoms associated with text neck include:
- Upper back pain, ranging from chronic, nagging pain to sharp, severe upper back muscles spasms.
- Shoulder pain and tightness, possibly resulting in painful shoulder muscle spasms.
- In the chance that a cervical nerve is being pinched, pain and possibly neurological symptoms can radiate down your arm, and into your hands.
Apart from limiting your smartphone and tablet use, there are several ways to soothe ‘text neck’. Ideally, one should focus on prevention. Holding your cell phone at eye level is one way to ensure your neck is protected from advancing the strain that occurs when looking downwards. It is also wise to take several breaks throughout the day to get up and walk around in order to loosen the muscles if they are becoming tense. Becoming aware of your posture is also key. If you are sitting and looking at a screen, be sure your head is positioned squarely in line with your shoulders and spine.
Another way to deal with the negative effects of text neck is taking efforts toward rehabilitation. Developing your core strength - the abdominal and lower back muscles - will help you better support your upper body, including your neck. Massage therapy can be an effective option when attempting to restore sore and tension upper back muscles.