Neck pain is inconvenient and affects day-to-day life. It is not considered a serious concern, but it is a very complex and important health problem in today’s era. Neck pain is mostly reported in adult groups. However, post-pandemic, the data show that there is a shift in the prevalence of this relevant issue from adulthood to teens and paediatric ages.
The inappropriate use of personal computers, especially cell phones, is one of the possible reasons for “text neck syndrome”. In this article, we will discuss the underlying causes and risk factors of musculoskeletal pain called “Text Neck” or “Tech Neck”, that can be modified by changes in routine life in different cultures and habits.
Text Neck Syndrome
“Text neck syndrome” is an increased stress on the cervical spine that can lead to cervical degeneration along with other developmental, medical, psychological, and social complications. Experienced worldwide in children and adolescents who spend a lot of time watching smartphones and computers.
Post covid-19 in the last few years, a growing reporting of data is showing that the “text neck syndrome” might be considered as an epidemic of this century. Text neck syndrome occurs more often in young people who are hunched over smartphones and computers for several hours a day and several days a year than before. It is estimated that 75% of the world's population hunches over their mobile devices with their heads bent forward for hours every day.
This clinical condition of this issue refers to the starting of cervical spinal degeneration that happens from the continuous stress of frequent forward head flexion while gazing at the screens of mobile phones or any hand held device for a long time.
Those who are addicted to their phones, be it social media, chatting or gaming, can end up with text neck syndrome, which affects the neck, shoulders and spine, in addition to eye problems.
More than human phones have become intimate to most people. But if we're not careful, the little device we spend so much time with can cause neck pain the more we use it. "Text Neck Syndrome" (or "Tech Neck Syndrome") occurs when your neck muscles strain when you try to lift your head while looking at your phone. Continuing to hold your head in this position can fatigue your muscles and cause pain.
Signs and Symptoms
Some of the text neck syndrome include:
Sharp or Nagging pain in the neck and shoulders
Stiffness/tightness in shoulders and neck leading to decreased range of motion
Intermittent or constant headaches
Nerve pain with tingling and numbness in the upper limbs
Eye pain, eye redness
Tips to prevent Text Neck Syndrome;
Hold your mobile device up to eye level.
Slight tuck your chin and roll shoulder blades backwards.
Take breaks from your mobile device every 15 minutes.
Set reminders to shift positions or to deviate from the device
For kids, rest the device on a table instead of in the hands or on the floor.
Use devices only when you really need them.
Try to listen more, watch less.
Prevention is better than cure. If you are suffering with severe pain and problems at your neck you may consult a doctor or physiotherapist. Change of postures, right sleeping postures and daily exercise can be helpful. You can also try specific neck exercises at home to manage text neck syndrome. Sitting for long hours gazing at a system is quite harmful, Stand up, stretch and go for a brief walk for sometime and then come back to work.
Pain relief balm: Keeping a pain relief balm is a handy treatment. Zeno Pain Gel is one such pain relief gel available over the counter for different body parts. It has sesame oil that is known to be highly effective in relieving pain. Sesame oil penetrates deep and relaxes the pain point. Use it when you get pain in your neck region. Apply, massage for a few seconds and relax for a while. You can use it at work as it's non-sticky and leaves no stain with a mild fragrance.
When you are at work or home, some of the stretches and exercises for a few minutes can give relief to your neck muscles.
1. Neck retraction. It is one of my favourite stretches. The neck retraction exercise is crafted to counteract chronic forward neck posture by strengthening the . Take your chin, literally sucking it back or pulling it back towards you.
2. Cat-cow posture. Yoga postures are highly beneficial for overall body and mental health. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees directly below your hips. Inhale deeply while curving your lower back and bringing your head up, tilting your pelvis up like a "cow." Exhale deeply and bring your abdomen in, arching your spine and bringing your head and pelvis down like a "cat." Repeat 5 to 7 times.
3. Shoulder circles. Make cups with your palms on your shoulders, move clock and anti clock wise 5 times each.
4. Neck rotation. Clock and anti-clock rotation of the neck gives relief to the neck muscles.
5. Side-to-side stretches. Move your head to look over one shoulder and then slowly look in the other direction over your other shoulder.
Over content consumption available on the web is harmful to the brain, eyes and muscles. Alongside the constant heads bent forward may affect your neck, shoulders, spine, eyes, and may radiate to other parts of the body. Hence, minimal usage of digital devices is advisable for all age groups.