Text neck is a term used to describe the pain and strain that can occur in the neck, shoulders, and upper back as a result of prolonged looking down at a device such as a smartphone or tablet. The condition is caused by the head's weight putting pressure on the cervical spine, which can lead to headaches, muscle tension, and even permanent damage to the spine if left untreated. This is because holding the head in a forward position for an extended period of time increases the pressure on the cervical spine.
The weight percentages of cervical flexion refers to the amount of weight or pressure placed on the cervical spine (the upper part of the spine that runs through the neck) when the head is flexed forward.
The weight on the cervical spine increases as the head moves forward and down. At a neutral position (where the ears are aligned over the shoulders), the cervical spine bears about 10% of the head's weight. However, as the head tilts forward, the weight on the cervical spine increases. At 15 degrees of flexion, the cervical spine bears about 27% of the head's weight, and at 30 degrees of flexion, it bears about 40% of the head's weight.
At 60 degrees of flexion, the weight on the cervical spine can be as high as 60% of the head's weight. This is why text neck is a major concern, as people are spending more and more time looking down at their phones and tablets, which puts a lot of pressure on the cervical spine.
' It's important to take a break and change position if you have been looking down for a long time. Also good posture is important and as well as stretching and strength training your neck, shoulder and upper back muscles'
What are complication of increased cervical neck flexion ? Prolonged and excessive cervical flexion (looking down) can lead to a number of complications, including:
Pain and discomfort: Text neck can cause pain and discomfort in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. This is because the increased weight on the cervical spine can cause muscle strain and tension.
Headaches: The strain on the cervical spine can also cause headaches, especially at the base of the skull.
Reduced mobility: Text neck can also reduce the range of motion in the cervical spine, making it difficult to turn the head to the side or look up.
Degenerative changes: Prolonged cervical flexion can lead to degenerative changes in the cervical spine, such as herniated discs, osteoarthritis, and even spinal cord compression.
Nerve irritation or impingement: Text neck can put pressure on the nerve roots, which can lead to pain, numbness, or tingling in the arms, hands, fingers and shoulders.
Poor posture: Text neck can lead to poor posture and muscle imbalances, which can cause additional problems over time.
It's important to take frequent breaks and change positions when using devices, maintain good posture and do regular stretching and exercises to prevent or alleviate the symptoms of text neck. If you experience pain or discomfort, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional.
How can regular Acupuncture treatments help this?
Firstly regular acupuncture will increase the blood flow that services your muscles, joints that support your skull. This will be crucial in any corrective therapy and postural adjustments required to move your alignment back into balance.
With regular acupuncture treatment and postural assessment you will be able to negate the influx of neurogenic inflammation caused form the increase weight load on your spine. Acupuncture with manual therapy will alleviate pain, muscle tightness, facet effusion and disorders associated with placing pressure on the cervical spine.
The ultimate fix for this technological cause of tension is to just raise the phone/ tablet/ book a little and stop looking down to your feet. It's not normal for our heads to be at these angles. Look forward, look to the horizon and enjoy better posture.
A bit about me:
Dr. Jacob Hoskins BHSc Chinese Medicine, DIpREM
Dr. Jacob Hoskins is passionate about healing, results and helping others achieve the best out of their lives. Your movement without pain and restriction will give you confidence to carry on doing what you love doing. At Jacob Hoskins Acupuncture your whole health is taken into consideration to create ultimate healing steps towards longevity.