Text neck

Written by Osteopath – Dr Josh Kelsall

Text neck is a 21st century phenomenon. An increasing number of patients are reporting gradual onset of neck pain to their Osteopath and have no idea why… Take a step back and consider how much time you have spent playing candy crush on your phone?? Or endlessly scrolling through Instagram, accidentally liking someone’s photo from 2017, awkward. Are you the person who walks around looking down at your phone, narrowly missing being hit by a car because you haven’t looked up in the last 2 blocks? All of these things contribute to an accumulation of stress to your neck… 

like right now?!

If you’re reading this post on your phone or laptop, take a minute to analyse your own head position. Do you have your phone or laptop on your lap, are you bending your neck in order to look down? Is this causing you pain yet?  

Over time, holding your head in this position adds a great deal of stress to your neck, especially the base of the neck. The anterior neck muscles gradually shorten. The posterior muscles of the neck and upper back, which have to work against this shortening become overused and overstretched. Gradually this results in pain as the posterior muscles are screaming at you to stop overworking them! 

If this head position continues over a longer period, you may feel like you are gradually reverting back on the human evolutionary timeline and have the posture of a caveman. 

See the picture, what do you see happening in this photo? 

I see your anterior neck muscles have chronically shortened, the posterior muscles are crying out for some rest bite but wont get any as you have now adopted this new posture where your head is further forward than before. For every inch further forward your head position, you add up to 10 pounds more weight to the neck. Your shoulders have rounded at the front, adding more stress to the posterior muscles of the neck and back. 

A recent study has shown that “almost 85% of all neck pain is thought to result from acute or repetitive neck injuries or from chronic stresses and strain.” 

The most common signs and symptoms of the above are;

  • Neck pain
  • Headache
  • Shoulder, scapular, and/or arm pain
  • Dizziness
  • Neurologic symptoms
  • Difficulty sleeping due to pain

How will an Osteopath help text neck? 

Before the neck pain becomes a chronic issue, manual therapy is recommended as an early intervention. It may help to improve function, increase activity and prevent long term neck pain. 

If your neck pain has already become chronic, alongside Osteopathy, specific neck exercises for the management of chronic neck pain, significantly improve functionality. 

An Osteopath will assess your posture, use their skilled hands to assess the muscles which may be causing the problem. They will produce a treatment plan to target the necessary structures. The treatment plan will consist of hands on treatment and accompanied by home exercises to help correct your posture. 

You can see Osteopath Dr Joshua Kelsall at our Brisbane City and James Street New Farm Clinics Tuesday – Saturdays. Click here to book with Joshua