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Text neck is an increasingly frequent ailment that can be treated effectively with physical therapy. Neck pain caused by a handheld device such as a smartphone or tablet is known as text neck. It happens when you hold your neck in a forward flexed position for hours on end while texting, surfing the internet, or reading on your phone.
Although changing your smartphone habits is the only way to get long-term relief, physical therapy can help relieve the symptoms of text neck when rest and anti-inflammatory drugs don't work.
The symptoms, etiology, and diagnosis of text neck are discussed in this article, as well as the physical therapy procedures used to treat it.
The average daily smartphone use for adults in the United States is 234.4 minutes (nearly four hours), according to a 2019 study from the University of Michigan. People check their phones an average of 67 times per day. Text neck is becoming more common in both children and adults as a result of this high level of use.
Text neck is caused by gazing at your smartphone with your neck in a drastically forward flexed position. The risk is increased if you keep your head stretched forward for long periods of time at 60 degrees or less.
Increased pressure in the intervertebral discs (the "cushions" between vertebrae) of your neck might develop herniation (bulging) of those discs as a result of this improper position.
Text neck, according to research, can cause gradual deterioration of the cervical spine of the neck if the pain is not treated. Children and teenagers with still-growing bones may be at the highest danger in the long run.
If you have text neck, your physical therapist (PT) will provide therapies to assist you relieve neck pain and enhance mobility in your neck. The physical therapist will begin by measuring your neck range of motion and assessing your overall posture. This can help you figure out which therapy are the most beneficial for you.
The PT will first teach you how to maintain appropriate posture . This can relieve some of the strain on the neck while also reducing pain.
Individual goals for postural correction vary, but they all revolve around improving both your dynamic (when you're moving) and static posture (while you are sitting, standing, or sleeping).
The PT will likely focus on your standing and sitting postures, as well as the location of your mobile device when reading, when treating text neck.
Because text neck is caused by extending your head forward, your PT will recommend ways to assist you prevent these actions. Corrective devices, such as customized holders or easels, can assist keep your neck in a more neutral posture by propping up your tablet or mobile device.
You may also be encouraged to make guidelines to limit the amount of time and/or frequency with which you use your mobile device.
Your PT will teach you exercises to do on a regular basis to alleviate the tension caused by text neck. Exercises such as cervical retraction, cervical extension, and scapular stabilization are commonly used. These exercises should be done three to four times a day to relieve pain and improve neck flexibility and range of motion.
Text neck is a problem that occurs when you keep your neck in a forward flexed position while staring down at your phone. It causes chronic discomfort, numbness, arm weakness, and neck stiffness over months or years.
Text neck can be considerably improved with physical therapy, and it is also possible to prevent it from returning. To reduce neck pain and increase range of motion, this usually entails improving your posture, changing your phone using habits, using assistive devices, and completing modest but consistent exercises.