Text Neck Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms & Management

Research Based
Medically reviewed by - Dr. Tez Pratap Singh, MD Written by - Dr. Sannia Sanadi


Text Neck

The majority of adult patients who have neck discomfort view it as a common health issue. However, relatively recent data indicate that the incidence of this pertinent issue is shifting from maturity to all pediatric ages as a result of new technology. In reality, a complicated constellation of clinical symptoms known as “text neck syndrome” may emerge as a result of impulsive and improper usage of personal computers, especially cell phones. This article’s goal is to examine the new phenomenon known as “text neck syndrome,” as well as the underlying causes and risk factors of musculoskeletal pain, which can be modified by changes in daily routine, in different cultures, and in habits.2Overview| Researched based study from UT South Western Medical Center

In reality, a complicated constellation of clinical symptoms known as "text neck syndrome" may emerge as a result of impulsive and improper usage of personal computers, especially cell phones. 

What is Text Neck Syndrome?

  • Text neck syndrome is defined as increased stresses on the cervical spine, which can cause cervical degeneration as well as other health, developmental, mental disorders and social complications. 
  • Text neck syndrome is an injury caused by repetitive stress brought on by prolonged neck flexion at various angles and discomfort from excessively using portable devices for watching or messaging for extended periods of time. 
  • It should be called “Modern Era Pain” because it is directly related to gadgets from the contemporary period. 3Overview| Researched based study from National Library of Medicine , 1Overview| Researched based study from International Journal of Health Sciences and Research


What causes Text Neck?

  • The average adult head weighs 10 to 12 pounds, yet bending it forward at a 45-degree angle causes it to put approximately 50 pounds of stress on your neck. 
  • Because we are upright beings, it is not in our nature to squint for extended periods of time. 
  • As a result, when we do it exerts additional strain on the cervical spine region, which is made up of seven bones (C1-C7 vertebrae) joined by facet joints and divided by discs. 
  • The spinal cord and its many nerves are likewise shielded by the vertebrae. 
  • Facet joints, two of which are found on each vertebra, play a crucial role in allowing humans to easily bend and move our necks. 1Causes| Researched based study from International Journal of Health Sciences and Research


Symptoms of Text neck Syndrome.

Symptoms of Text Neck Syndrome

  • Constant sharp neck and shoulder pain
  • Radiating pain
  • Neck Stiffness
  • Limited mobility of neck
  • Muscular tension in the shoulders
  • Incorrect neck and shoulder alignment and a forward-facing posture
  • Headache
  • Musculoskeletal pain in kids and teenagers. 3Symptoms| Researched based study from National Library of Medicine


Risks of Text Neck Syndrome

Text neck syndrome has the following risk:

  • Musculoskeletal effects
  • Eye problems
  • Effect on mental health
  • Electromagnetic risk

Musculoskeletal effects:

  • Girls are more likely than boys to experience headaches and musculoskeletal pain symptoms, and that older adolescents are more likely to experience these symptoms. 
  • Frequent neck and shoulder pain was linked to computer use and carrying a backpack to school. 
  • Headaches, especially tension-type headaches, which are relatively frequent in teenagers, might result from chronic discomfort in the neck and shoulders referring to the head. 

Eye problems:

Because the emphasis is on a nearby item while texting with the cervical spine in forward flexion, this practice can result in:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Eye discomfort
  • Dry eyes

According to a recent study, eye strain (12 %), dryness of the eyes (7 %), and nearsightedness (3 %) were the most common eye complaints. 3Risks| Researched based study from National Library of Medicine

Effect on Mental Health:

  • Parents have also seen changes in their children’s and teens’ conduct in regular daily routines and social situations. 
  • Exploitation and teasing have increased when children and teenagers spend too much time on portable devices and cellphones. 

Electromagnetic Risk:

Numerous symptoms, including the following can be brought on by electromagnetic radiation:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Tingling in the hands and feet
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Ocular discomfort
  • Unexplained heart issues
  • Electro sensitivity
  • Poor immunity
  • ADHD and autism

This is crucial since a child’s head may absorb electromagnetic radiation up to two times more than an adult’s, and their skull’s bone marrow up to 10 times more than an adult’s. 3Risks| Researched based study from National Library of Medicine


Diagnosis of Text Neck

Conversation and some investigations are the first steps in determining the cause of your neck discomfort. You will be asked to explain symptoms and respond to a few questions, like:

  • Do you have headaches or a different kind of head pain?
  • Do you feel pain running down your arm?
  • Can you feel anything in your fingers?
  • Was the neck pain brought on by an injury?
  • If anything, what have you previously attempted to do to make yourself feel better?

During a physical examination, doctors will be able to gauge your reflexes, muscular power, and cervical spine alignment.

  • Any differences in bone alignment and structure can be seen on X-rays, and any soft tissue issues, such a bulging disc or serious arthritis in the joints, can be seen on an MRI.
  • Health care professionals can typically identify the cause of your neck discomfort using a mix of cutting-edge imaging, a complete physical examination, and a full medical history. 1Diagnosis | Researched based study from International Journal of Health Sciences and Research


Treatment for Text Neck Syndrome

Most patients have previously attempted a variety of self-care measures before they seek therapy from a professional, from online-found stretches and exercises to over-the-counter drugs. Doctors initially suggest medicine and guided physical therapy, depending on the patient’s condition. But there are several more nonsurgical treatments and interventions that can be quite successful as well:

  • Epidural Steroid Injection: Steroids like cortisone, which are extremely effective anti-inflammatory drugs, can be injected directly into the area around an inflamed nerve to offer relief that may last for months or even years.
  • Injection in the Trigger Point: Injecting medicine (often anesthesia and steroid) in the location can significantly reduce the tightness of a muscle or knot known as a trigger point.
  • Nerve-root Blocks: By blocking a particular nerve’s pain signal to the brain, an anti-inflammatory drug injected close to inflamed nerve roots can provide great pain relief.
  • Radiofrequency: A minimally invasive treatment known as a radiofrequency ablation, also known as a rhizotomy, utilizes a tiny needle to transfer an electric current to heat up or cauterize nerve fibers that are transmitting pain signals to the joints in the neck. 1Treatment | Researched based study from International Journal of Health Sciences and Research
  • Other Remedies: Have a deep-tissue massage, visit an acupuncturist, or chiropractor, or undergo physical therapy.

Is Text Neck Serious?

  • In the beginning, your muscles have to work hard to keep your head up. However, as the muscles contract, they increase the pressure on the discs. 
  • Because of this, the discs deteriorate more quickly and may potentially burst or bulge as a result. 
  • You may experience discomfort, numbness, or paralysis in the arm if the ruptured disc pinches a nerve, which may necessitate surgical intervention. 4Treatment| Researched based study from New York Presbyterian


Exercises for Text Neck Syndrome

The workouts listed below are beneficial for many people. Try to routinely perform these workouts. To become acclimated to each one, perform it a few times at first, then gradually increase the number of times. 5Exercises| Researched based study from Versus Arthritis

Neck extension:

  • Stretch your throat by moving your chin forward while maintaining a straight back.
  • Hold a little tension in your neck muscles for five seconds.
  • Push your head back toward the center while maintaining your chin high. Take a five-second hold. 

Neck Tilt (Side to the side):

  • Lead with your ear as you incline your head downward toward one of your shoulders. Avoid touching your shoulder.
  • Hold a little tension in your neck muscles for five seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side after bringing your head back to the center. Five repetitions each side, repeat.

Neck Incline (Down):

  • With appropriate posture, either sit or stand. If you have balance problems, it is advised that you sit down.
  • To put your chin over your chest, slowly incline your head downward.
  • Hold a little tension in your neck muscles for five seconds. Continue five times.

Neck Turn:

  • Keep your head turned to one side, keep your chin level, and only move as much as is comfortable.
  • For five seconds, maintain a slight tension in the neck muscles.
  • After bringing the head back to the middle, repeat on the opposite side. Repeat after five repetitions on each side. 5Exercises| Researched based study from Versus Arthritis


How to prevent Text Neck Syndrome?

  • Place the gadget such that it lessens strain on the upper extremities and the head or neck.
  • Avoid using motions often, such as extended typing or swiping.
  • Take regular pauses and limit your device usage.
  • Do not hold large or heavy gadgets in one hand for extended period of time.
  • Parents should keep an eye on how much time their children spend using tablets, smartphones, and PCs.
  • Use voice to text method while messaging.
  • To protect your neck, simply keep in mind to hold or setting the laptop or other device at an appropriate horizontal eye level when browsing and messaging. 
  • Timer apps for your phone and other devices might help you remember to take hourly digital breaks when using your laptop, especially if you are working from home.
  • To assist your neck muscles start working, get out of your chair, stretch, and walk about.
  • Utilizing a standing desk while working from home is another possibility.  
  • Make sure people have enough light so you can see your screen without stooping. 
  • Find a comfortable chair as well; stop slouching on the couch. 3Prevention| Researched based study from National Library of Medicine


Takeaway points for Text Neck Syndrome

Whether we like it or not, mobile devices are a constant in our life. Therefore, advising patients to use their phones and computers less frequently in order to preserve their necks is not really a workable approach. Usually, neck soreness disappears after a few weeks. You may take care of it on your own at home. Keep the neck area moving since too much resting might make the discomfort worse. In order to safeguard and assist children through educational initiatives that raise awareness of both the advantages and dangers of excessive media usage, collaboration between parents, physicians, and health experts is crucial.5Takeaway| Researched based study from Versus Arthritis

Disclaimer: The user acknowledges that this article's information is being offered for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to guarantee that the article is informational and correct. If they have any doubts or questions about their health, we firmly advise our readers to visit a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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