Why Does My Neck Hurt When I Use My Cell Phone?

In today’s digital age, we are constantly connected with our cell phones at all times, leading to an increasing number of people experiencing neck pain when using their mobile devices. This pain is often caused by a modern condition known as “text neck.” In this article, we will take a deeper look at the causes of text neck, explore ways to prevent and treat it, and the role chiropractic care can play in alleviating neck pain.

What Is Text Neck and How Does It Cause Neck Pain?

Text neck is a contemporary ailment resulting from the repetitive stress of looking down at a mobile device for an extended period. When you tilt your head forward to view your phone, the weight of your head increases significantly, putting immense pressure on your neck and spine. In fact, your head can feel as if it weighs up to 60 pounds when tilted at a 60-degree angle.

This excessive strain on the neck muscles can lead to pain, inflammation, and even changes in the natural curve of the spine. Aside from stiffness, other common symptoms include:

  1. Headaches
  2. Upper back pain
  3. Shoulder pain and tightness
  4. Numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers

Long-term text neck can lead to more severe issues like pinched nerves, herniated discs, and even arthritis in the neck and upper back.

The Connection Between Text Neck and Other Ailments

Apart from causing neck pain, the strain from text neck can also worsen or exacerbate other existing conditions. For instance, those suffering from headaches or neurological issues may find that their symptoms worsen when frequently using their cell phones.

Over time, text neck can also have a negative impact on mental health due to the pain and restricted movement it causes, potentially contributing to stress, anxiety, and depression.

Tips for Reducing Text Neck Symptoms and Ensuring Proper Posture

Preventing text neck is crucial in maintaining a healthy neck and spine. Here are some helpful strategies to reduce the chances of developing text neck and ensure good posture:

  1. Hold your phone at eye level: Keep your device at eye level to reduce strain on the neck and ensure a neutral neck posture.
  2. Use a phone stand or holder: Utilizing an ergonomic phone holder or stand can help you maintain a proper neck and back posture, avoiding the risks associated with text neck.
  3. Take regular breaks: Set up a reminder to take frequent breaks and perform neck stretches every 30 minutes (at minimum) to give your neck muscles a much-needed break.
  4. Maintain proper posture when using other devices: Similar neck strain can result from using laptops and desktop computers; ensure that these screens are at eye level and maintain good posture while working.

If you already experience neck pain due to text neck, the following steps can help:

  1. Modify your habits: Decrease your phone usage or refrain from looking down at your phone. Opt for hands-free solutions for phone calls and use voice-to-text features to mitigate neck strain.
  2. Strengthen your neck and upper back muscles: Engage in exercises that target these muscles to increase strength, flexibility, and prevent future occurrences of text neck. Incorporate activities like neck stretches, shoulder shrugs, and chin tucks into your daily routine.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help With Text Neck

Getting treatment from a chiropractor can be a highly effective method for treating text neck. Health Rehab Chiropractic in Centreville, VA provides chiropractic care that can offer various benefits, such as:

  • Restoring spinal alignment: Chiropractic adjustments to the spine and cervical area improve posture and help eliminate pain associated with text neck.
  • Enhancing mobility and overall function: Chiropractic care restores normal joint function, reduces muscle tension, and addresses imbalances or restrictions in the cervical and upper thoracic spine.
  • Personalized care based on your needs: A chiropractor will examine and evaluate your posture, neck pain, and overall health to develop a customized plan that targets your specific issue.

Closing Thoughts on Neck Pain and Cell Phone Usage

With mobile device usage rising every day, text neck is an increasing concern for many individuals. Proactively preventing and treating text neck will significantly reduce future neck and spine problems.

Remember: make simple adjustments to your daily habits, engage in regular breaks and stretching, and don’t hesitate to visit a chiropractor for assessment and treatment. With combined efforts in prevention and care, neck pain from cell phone usage can be effectively managed and minimized.

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Schenk, R., Donaldson, M., Parent-Nichols, J., Wilhelm, M., Wright, A., & Cleland, J. A. (2022). Effectiveness of cervicothoracic and thoracic manual physical therapy in managing upper quarter disorders – a systematic review. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 30(1), 46-55.