Overcoming “Text Neck”

“Text neck” is a modern age term to describe repeated stress injury and pain in the neck resulting from excessive watching or texting on mobile phones over a sustained period of time.  The location of pain and discomfort is often in the back of the shoulder and neck.  There are many muscles that had hold tension so the particular region that is the source of pain varies from person to person.

To determine what structures are contributing to the pain, an examination would be needed.  Although there are differences in how we treat different types of neck pain, we’ve found that common limitations exist with text neck.

Some factors that contribute to text neck include overuse of the shallow neck flexor muscles. In addition, there can be weakness of the deep neck, upper back, and shoulder stabilizer muscles.  The body will often compensate for weakness in these regions with tension, knots, and trigger points that develop in the neck, shoulder, and upper “trap” muscles.

However, the only way to know what is contributing to text neck related pain is to perform a movement assessment.

Once we know what the limitations are, our first recommendation that we usually make is to be mindful of how much time we are spending in front of our phones.  Taking breaks and and keeping a good posture when reading are good habit to develop.

Making simple changes allows for an environment for irritation to settle down.  While making these changes usually helps with pain, we know to fully restore neck health, we have to address the underlying imbalances that have developed.

When tense and stiff neck muscles are found via our assessment, our approach includes manual mobilization to alleviate pain and discomfort.  Pain improvements can be made very quickly with soft tissue mobilization and/or dry needling of the neck, upper trap, and upper back muscles.

However, we know that for pain improvements to last, we need to develop strength.

If weakness is found, we teach activation exercises to help our clients better engage muscles that are not firing well.  Some of theses muscles include the deep neck flexors, lower trapezius, infraspinatus, lats, and serratus anterior. Once pain is controlled and muscles engage better, our next step is teaching our patients proper movement mechanics.

Finally, to keep the pain from text neck from returning quickly, we need to develop strength and durability through resistance exercise.  We like one-armed kettlebell exercises because they teach the body how to stabilize on off-center object and engage many stabilizing muscles at once.

When addressed with a thorough physical therapy assessment and plan of care, resolving neck pain from text neck is possible.  However, ignoring pain can cascade into more problems down the road.  If you have text-neck related pain and want a long term solution, the physical therapists at Movement Solutions would be glad to be a resource for you. 

We have a free guide on relieving neck and shoulder pain that can give you further insight into neck pain and help kick start your recovery.  We are available for a free 15-minute phone consultation to talk about how your pain is affecting you and discuss your treatment options.

If your concerns warrant an in-person consultation, we offer a limited number of free Discovery Visit’s at our office.  This type of appointment of for those who are interested in getting text neck behind them.  It is an opportunity to ask questions, obtain clarity about your condition, and develop confidence that we can help you. 

If you’re certain that we’re a good fit and ready to book an appointment, you can inquire about cost and availability and get the process started.

If you’re in pain and unsure about what your next steps should be, call us at (864) 558-7346 and ask how we can help.

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