Two Exercises to Fix and Prevent “Text Neck” Pain

By , Category : Pain

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Two Exercises for Text Neck” Pain ReliefAs we hear all the time, if there’s something you need or want to do while out and about, well, for the most part, there’s an app for that. The digital world is now king. And we know almost all too well, no matter where you are, you’d likely be hard-pressed to find someone not bowing their heads to look at their devices.

In fact, about 90% of American adults own a cellphone, 58% have smartphones, 42% use tablet computers, and 32% stare at e-readers. It is true: electronic devices are loyal companions for most people. Everywhere you turn, someone is looking down at their trusty device, reading the latest best seller, watching the hottest viral video, or texting to friends and family.

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What’s worse is that people no longer just have these devices for emergencies only, but rather, they are an addiction. On average, Americans spend six to nine hours staring at a digital screen daily. I admit that I own a smartphone and tablet, and I use them for about six hours every day. I bet your situation is similar. But like most addictions, staring down at your smartphone is bad for your health.

The Dangers of “Text Neck” Syndrome

Don’t believe me? In reality, 81% of cellphone owners send text messages. It has even lead to a global epidemic called “text neck” syndrome.

“Text neck” is a term first coined by Florida chiropractor Dean L. Fishman. It is a health condition that develops when you stare at your digital device for an extended period.

I recall a study published in the journal Ergonomics in 2013. For this study, researchers sent a questionnaire to 15,000 people between the ages of 18 and 65. The study found that 6,121 respondents experienced neck pain from daily computer or cellphone use. I have also noticed that my cellphone is also a pain in my neck.

Overt time, if left untreated, text neck syndrome can lead to arthritis, cervical spine damage, nerve damage, muscle damage, disc compression, and spinal degeneration or misalignment. What’s the good news? I have a couple effective exercise techniques that can help you prevent text neck syndrome.

Text Neck Pain Relief Exercise #1

In this first exercise, lie on your back and place two tennis balls or MFR (myofascial release) massage balls below your shoulders. You will lift your spine into a bridge pose, which will roll the balls back and forth. The technique will help decrease muscle spasms. You also work your neck as well. You can twist and move the balls from the back of the ear, frontal neck area, and the inner collarbone. Perform this exercise for about a minute for the best results.

Text Neck Pain Relief Exercise #2

The next exercise can be done right at your computer desk. It is the ultimate stretch break! First, push your chair out from your desk and gently put your hands on your knees. Take a deep breath; while inhaling, tuck your chin inwards and rotate your shoulders forward. When you exhale, move your head back, so that it’s over your shoulders; your shoulder blades should be straight. Repeat this exercise three to five times for optimal posture health.

Other Health Concerns with Smartphones

Text neck syndrome isn’t the only health concern with digital devices. They can also lead to digital eye strain—a condition that can produce blurred vision, and blurry, red, or dry eyes. Electronic devices also damage your health from radiation and electromagnetic field (EMF) frequencies, which can impair the immune system, adrenal glands, and neurological function. It can also lead to infertility, DNA damage, and cancer.

How Else Can You Help End Text Neck Syndrome?

Some other easy ways to eliminate or lessen the impact of all that time using digital devices are as follows:

  • Take constant breaks. When working, aim to take a break from your desk every 15 minutes or so, even if it’s just to take a short walk to get some water or do a couple quick stretches.
  • You should also make it a habit to hold your smartphone at eye level to prevent your neck from any painful straining.
  • Practice daily neck exercises, such as chin tucks and lateral stretches.
  • Posture-focused exercises can also help relieve neck pain; try yoga, Pilates, or qigong.
  • Regular chiropractic adjustments can make a difference for text neck syndrome pain.

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Sources for Today’s Article:
Korpinen, L., et al., “Self-reported neck symptoms and use of personal computers, laptops and cell phones among Finns aged 18-65,” Ergonomics July 2013; 56(7): 1134–1146, doi: 10.1080/00140139.2013.802018.
“Text Neck: A Global Epidemic,” The Text Neck Institute web site; http://text-neck.com/, last accessed February 23, 2015.
“Mobile Technology Fact Sheet,” Pew Research Internet Project web site; http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/mobile-technology-fact-sheet/, last accessed February 23, 2015.
Loughlin, N.B., “Fix Your ‘Text Neck,’” GreenMedInfo web site, December 18, 2014; http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/fix-your-text-neck.
Zelevansky, N., “6 Ways to Relieve ‘Text Neck’” Self.com web site; http://www.self.com/flash/fitness-blog/2011/10/6-ways-to-relieve-text-neck/, last accessed February 23, 2015.




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Richard M. Foxx, MD has decades of medical experience with a comprehensive background in endocrinology, aesthetic and laser medicine, gynecology, and sports medicine. He has extensive experience with professional athletes, including several Olympic competitors. Dr. Foxx practices aesthetic and laser medicine, integrative medicine, and anti-aging medicine. He is the founder and Medical Director of the Medical and Skin Spa located in Indian Wells, California, at the Hyatt Regency Resort. Dr. Foxx is certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners... Read Full Bio »