When Your Phone Becomes a (Chronic) Pain in the Neck

Once a way to make phone calls, our mobile phones have become our resource for virtually everything we do: get directions, listen to music, take and share photos, search, shop, socialize, and, yes, even make phone calls.

But all of this phone usage comes at a cost. And sometimes this cost is a condition called “text neck.”

What is text neck? Text neck is neck pain caused by hunching over a mobile device for extended periods of time. Symptoms may include:

  • A stiff or sore neck that makes it difficult to turn your head
  • Dull, aching pain in one spot or throughout the neck
  • Pain that radiates into the shoulder, scapula (shoulder blades), or even arms
  • Tension-type headaches or headaches originating from the base of the skull

These symptoms can often lead to posture problems that only make matters worse.

Unlike other neck issues which can have many different causes, text neck comes from one cause: extended mobile device use with the head tilted down.

And it’s no surprise more and more people are suffering from text neck. The average American spends 5.4 hours per day on their phone. The average weight of the human head is between 10-12 pounds. Factor in the increased angle of the head and neck while looking at a phone and you get an increase of about 60 pounds of weight on our necks. For over 5 hours every day.

What can you do to mitigate this pain? There are a few easy ways to treat the pain on your own. The first—and most obvious—thing is simply to decrease the amount of time you spend on your mobile device. If you can’t limit the amount of time on your phone, be sure to take frequent breaks. 

  • When possible, keep your phone at eye level. It’s not the phone that’s causing the problem. It’s keeping your head at an angle of 15 degrees or more that’s doing the damage.
  • Maintain good posture with your head upright and your shoulder blades pulled back. 
  • Exercise! A strong and healthy neck is more resilient against the stress and strain of extended mobile device use.

Of course, if you don’t see results from doing these exercises, we’re here to help.  Our Care Team is ready to walk you through a treatment plan, step by step. You’re just a mobile phone call away from expert pain care, close to home.