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Text Neck- What is it and 4 ways to treat it:

We’ve all heard from somewhere how important proper posture is. Whether it’s when we’re working at a desk, or when we’re scrolling through Facebook before bed- we aren’t looking right. No, I don’t mean we’re looking at the wrong things- I mean we are looking incorrectly. In this article, I’ll explain the importance of posture while scrolling through Instagram in the bathroom or on your lunch break and how you can balance a healthy connection between your body and your daily activities.

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Whether you’re using technology for entertainment or remote work- you should understand the importance of proper posture while engaging in this activity to prevent you from future injury and pain.

The first thing I learned from a Massage Therapy journal (Shryer, D. 2021) was that “tech neck” or “text neck” affects more than just our neck and shoulders. All of the muscles in our upper body are being overworked and put under unnecessary stress.

When we’re on our screens in a sitting position, our heads, weighing ten pounds or more, move forward and pull our neck muscles into an extension. Without proper therapy, our bodies get used to being in this position and other muscles, like our chest, arms, and shoulders begin to shorten and weaken.

These muscles are weak because they aren’t being used at all and “forget” their purpose. This process is called atrophy, when body tissue wastes away, in this case, muscle cells. You’d think the only muscles that would be affected by poor posture would only be the neck, right? Actually, according to recent studies, the entire body can be affected by this misalignment.

To recap, our neck muscles are being overworked from tilting our heavy heads over our spines creating tension in our upper back muscles. This imbalance of full-body muscle power causes migraines, breathing problems, and complete changes to the main structure of our bodies.

According to the study, The Effect of Smartphone Usage Time on Posture and Respiratory Function, poor posture leads to shallow breathing. This study found that individuals who used their phones for more than four hours daily were prone to having the structure of their bodies altered.

The heads were protruding forward and the shoulders were rounded instead of slightly curved, like in the picture shown. When our bodies aren’t in their natural position our respiratory system doesn’t allow the proper space to breathe in or completely exhale. Other studies have shown that individuals that have smartphone addiction are more likely to have symptoms of “tech neck”.

So, does this mean I throw my phone away and give technology up completely? Not necessarily, although everyone should consider balancing their time on technology with time stretching and building strength back into our weakened muscles. Here are four ways you can alleviate pain from “tech neck” and re-establish your posture.

  1. Massage therapy

    Massage therapy is a great way to release tension and allow your muscles to relax. Trigger point therapy can soften muscles on the back of your neck and allow knots to be loosened. When your body is relaxed, you start to feel better and remind yourself that your body needs to be taken care of in order for you to take care of your loved ones, co-workers, and business. If your body is tense, chances are you are going to be tense and end up hurting yourself drastically one way or another.

  2. Chiropractic care

    Re-aligning your spine through chiropractic adjustments will offer your body a chance to correct itself over a short period of time. At Advanced Spinal Care & Rehab, our doctors specialize in misalignments and can examine your spine thoroughly. After an examination, they are able to set up a treatment plan specific for your body and its conditions. This treatment plan consists of chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, rehabilitation, and other at-home spinal correction exercises to suit your lifestyle. Set up your appointment at our clinic here: New Patient Form – Best Chiropractors in Shoreview, MN | Advanced Spinal Care

  3. Do-at-home stretches

    If you’re anything like me, you might be in pain still after massages and chiropractic adjustments. If this is you, I suggest trying out different stretches that will correct your posture and stretch the muscles that need it the most. Check out my pinterest page to find stretches to keep your body burning bright like a candle.

  4. Postural adjustment

    Since the pandemic, a majority of us are working from home and spending more time on our screens. Because of this, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other physical clinics are seeing more cases of “tech neck” and patients in extreme pain. Along with manual therapy, I suggest changing your work environment to better suit your bodies’ daily needs. For example, keeping your hips higher than your knees will help with overall positioning. Having your screen high enough to keep your eyes at the top third of your screen will keep your head angled slightly back and your forearms parallel to the desk to prevent hunching over.

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