Every year, between 27 and 48 percent of workers suffer from neck pain. This figure comes from a global study of people from all fields, including those working in offices, conducted years before the work from home phenomena. With the pandemic and the enormous increase in working from home, frequently in less-than-ideal conditions, neck injuries may become even more widespread among employees, resulting in a text neck problem.
What are the possibilities that you're reading this post on your smartphone, putting yourself in the critical but dangerous text neck position? Consider an ordinary day: while working, you use your laptop, computer, and phone. After work, you may watch TikToks or other videos or a tablet to play a game. You look at your phone dozens of times during the day for texts and emails. People spend almost five hours each day gazing at their phones, which can cause significant text-neck aches. According to experts, neck pains are predicted to affect 7 out of 10 people at some point in their life.
What is text neck?
Text neck, also known as tech neck, refers to the pain felt when the neck or cervical spine is tilted in an improper position for an extended period when using computers or mobile devices. Text neck is a pain in the neck caused by texting. The displacement of your head relative to your neck increases the weight that your neck endures, bringing the pain.
When you tilt your head forwards, it moves out of alignment with your cervical spine. It puts more strain on your neck. The longer you stay in this uncomfortable, contracted position, the more pressure you put on your neck. Because the position overworks your neck, cervical spine, and upper back muscles, they may become tight, strained, and stiff, resulting in neck discomfort, upper back problems, and shoulder pain.
Text/tech neck can happen both at work and home. You may have a healthy workstation at the office with a suitable chair, workstation, and desktop setup. You may still experience neck discomfort, and rest, stretching, and fine-tuning your workstation is also vital for pain prevention and relief.
Work-at-home conditions can be more hazardous to one's neck and overall musculoskeletal well-being. Using your laptop while sitting on the bed, relaxing on your couch, or at the kitchen counter, for example, raises your chances of text/tech neck pain.
Take Phone Breaks
Breaks are incredibly essential in controlling and alleviating neck and other musculoskeletal discomforts. They allow you to relax tired muscles in your back and neck. They also give you some time to relax and switch positions. All of these modifications help to mitigate the disadvantages of keeping a forward head posture.
Breaking away from the screen regularly, even if it is only for two to three minutes every hour, can be beneficial. Eliminating the tendency of staring down can avoid and relieve text/tech neck. Take deliberate breaks from using your phones. Set an alarm or reminder of it on your phone or computer. These minor cues can make a significant difference.
Make Changes On How You Hold Your Phone
Raise the screen to eye level so that your head is not crouched down forward or raised too high. Maintain a straight spine so that your ear is in alignment with your shoulders. This will prevent you from keeping a forward-head position for an extended amount of time.
Any exercise routine designed to decrease severe neck pain and minimize forward head posture often focuses on treating and reversing muscular imbalances to regain a more naturally balanced posture. Among the most prevalent alternatives are:
- Exercises at home: Numerous movements and stretches may be performed at home to enhance the neck's flexibility and strength and reduce forward head position. While each case is different, attaining long-term pain alleviation from text neck usually requires a dedication to completing stretching exercises at home daily.
- Physical therapy: A physical therapist and perhaps other health care professionals can create a stretching and exercising program tailored to the patient's requirements. This program is usually done in a clinic, especially at first, ensuring that the exercises and stretches are done correctly and safely. In each case, many training sessions may be required before progressing to an unassisted, patient-specific personal exercise regimen.
As a general rule, partaking in an exercise that improves posture and body awareness daily is an effective method to combat the risk of experiencing neck pain from bad posture.
Ergonomics, or the effective positioning of your work environment, makes it easier to accomplish your tasks while also reducing stress on your body. Whether you work in an office or from home, effective ergonomics can help you avoid or minimize text/tech neck. If you have neck and back pain, it could be due to the structure of your workspace, the positioning of your computer screen, or the arrangement of other items. There are numerous suggestions for ergonomically designing your workspace.
The location of your monitor may be a concern, but so may the positioning of your laptop. When you use your laptop, you have to look down to see the display, which results in a head-forward position. To raise your computer screen, use a monitor riser, laptop stand, monitor arm, or even a stack of thick books. This shifts your neck from a bent to a neutral position. In most circumstances, especially for laptop users, an external keyboard will be necessary.
Yoga is the best technique to cure and eliminate neck and back pain since it improves movement patterns, enhances muscle strength, and involves breathing exercises. Neck pain can be caused by a muscular imbalance which you can correct with daily yoga sessions. The activities mentioned above, as well as 10 minutes of yoga every day, can help.
When you should see a doctor
If your neck pain persists or is associated with a fever, nausea, severe headache, unintentional weight loss, pain or tingling that radiates down into your arm or hand, dizziness, or other disturbing symptoms, seek medical attention. Together with neck discomfort, any of these indications could suggest a dangerous underlying illness that a doctor must carefully evaluate to receive the proper treatment.
There is no complete approach that will guarantee to relieve your tech-induced aches and pains. Stretching and exercising can help maintain the strength and flexibility of your muscles.