Are you suffering from text neck syndrome?

We love technology, yet we need to stay alert for this repetitive stress injury

Every morning, as I step onto the morning bus and MRT for my commute to work, I am alarmed at what I see as a Physiotherapist: text neck! This is on top of poor work and home ergonomics as well as our increasingly sedentary lifestyle. This may all sound doom and gloom but fear not, we can help!

Text neck is unfortunately a new term that is used too often nowadays as a diagnosis for too many clients we see. Alarmingly, I see too many young children and teenagers with this in the clinic and outside of the clinic. Laptops and tablets further compound this epidemic. Check out the list below to see if you are also one of the text-neck victims. You can learn more about my exercise picks on how to relieve your “text neck” in the next article.

TOP 10 SYMPTOMS OF TEXT NECK

1. Stiff neck
2. Neck pain ( can be dull, sharp or stabbing )
3. Radiating pain into the shoulders, upper back & arms
4. Headache
5. Flattening of thoracic kyphosis
6. Early onset arthritis
7. Spinal degeneration
8. Disc compression
9. Muscle weakness
10. Loss of lung capacity

 

HOW COULD TEXTING DAMAGE YOUR SPINE?
Forces on the neck increase the move we tilt our head, causing spine curvature.

5 MANAGEMENT TIPS OF TEXT NECK

1. Avoid excessive phone usage and take frequent breaks
2. Avoid prolonged static postures
3. Position the device at eye level
4. Avoid high repetitions of movements such as prolonged typing or swiping
5. Avoid holding large or heavy devices in one hand for long duration

 

HOW CAN PHYSIOTHERAPY HELP WITH TEXT NECK?
1. Release the tight muscles and structures to alleviate pain or inflammation
2. Improve neck range of motion.
3. Ergonomics and postural advice
4. Education
5. Strengthening exercises for shoulders, neck, upper back and  general core stability (Pilates is very useful for this.)
OUR PHYSIO’S EXERCISE PICKS TO RELIEVE YOUR ‘TEXT NECK’
Cervical Retraction

1. Sit or stand in an upright posture
2. Draw your chin in towards your neck whilst imagining a string pulling from the top of the head ( Lengthening your spine )
3. Maintain position then relax back to start
4. Repeat 5-10 times, ensuring good posture, no back arching or head tilting back
5. Stop if pain exacerbates

 

Chest Stretch

1. Hold a rolled towel behind your back, hold for 20-30 seconds
2. Turn your wrists so the palms are facing forward
3. Lift the towel away from your body and hold

Written by Alphonse Tranne, Senior Physiotherapist, Prohealth In Touch Physiotherapy
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