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Medical Monday: What is “Text Neck”?

Yes, “Text Neck” is real!


It is known as an overuse or repetitive stress injury of your neck. It is caused by holding your neck in a forward and downward position for prolonged periods like looking at your phone or working in front of a computer. Your neck is placed in a lot of tension in this position and the deep muscles of your neck and across your shoulders get strained causing acute and chronic neck pain. Tension headaches could also be linked to this.

Ideal posture is that when sitting upright you can draw a line from your ear to your shoulder and the weight of your head is perfectly balanced on your neck. Move your head slightly forward and it increases the weight of your head on your neck and the muscles and ligaments need to work harder to carry it. This causes inflammation and pain can develop. In severe cases, nerve irritation and an increased spinal curvature can occur.

Do you have text neck? The signs and symptoms include:

1. Instant upper back or neck pain when using a cell phone, tablet or computer
2. Nagging or sharp pain in your neck and shoulders at the end of the day.
3. General shoulder discomfort and stiffness
4. Headaches that come and go or are constant which are worse when looking down or at your computer screen.

So, let’s treat it!

Physiotherapy is very beneficial and aims to reduce the pain by releasing the tension in the muscles of your neck and thoracic spine, and can address postural problems by posture correction techniques like strengthening and taping.

Each patient presents differently so your physio will need to do a thorough evaluation of you to determine the cause of your pain and to then address that specifically to prevent reoccurrences. Some other treatments we use are:

1. Joint Mobilisations
2. Myofascial Soft tissue release
3. Dry Needling
4. Postural correction exercises
5. Stability muscle recruitment
6. Taping techniques


This article was written for The Point by: