WHAT IS TEXT NECK OR POKE NECK
Text neck or poke neck are interchangeable terms used to label neck pain and damage caused by sustained use of handheld devices. It can be considered an overuse syndrome and/or a repetitive stress injury to the neck. We must note however that it is not an official medical diagnosis, rather a term commonly used to label the issue once a thorough physical and subjective (history) examination has been conducted.
WHAT CAUSES TEXT NECK?
It is caused by holding your head in a forward and downward position for extended periods of time. In our daily lives this is often caused by the increasing times we spend on handheld devices. When holding your head in this position, excessive amounts of load is placed on your neck joints as well as excessive amounts of tension generated by your neck and shoulder muscles. This is known to cause both acute and chronic pain around the neck as well as chronic cervicogenic headaches.
When in a position of ‘good’ posture, where the ears are aligned with the middle of your shoulders, the weight of the average head on the neck is 5kg. However when the neck is protruding 15 degrees that weight now increases to become 12kg of force and with a further increase of 45 degrees, the head then drastically generates 22kg of force on the neck.
If left untreated, ‘text neck’ can lead to drastic conditions such as postural deformities in the upper back where the bone at the top of your back protrudes (known as dowager's hump), nerve irritation, muscle and ligament inflammation.
For advice specific to treating your "Text Neck" we recommend consulting a physiotherapist for the most accurate diagnosis and best treatment for your neck pain.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF TEXT NECK
- Instant and/or delayed upper back and neck pain whilst using a handheld device
- Sharp pain in the neck and/or shoulders at the end of a day
- Inability to maintain ‘good’ posture, from postural fatigue and/or poor muscular control
- Muscular weakness of neck, shoulders, upper back
- General shoulder pain and tightness
- Forward head posture and rounded shoulders
- Reduced range of motion of neck, upper back, shoulders
- Dowagers hump (see image below)
- Intermittent and/or constant headaches
- Neck and upper back muscle spasms
- Neurological symptoms (rare), which could present as pins/needles, numbness, weakness, referred pain down arm
- Early onset of arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR TEXT NECK PAIN
Text neck should be conservatively managed by your physiotherapist. They will assess your lifestyle, posture, neck structures and identify the main causes of your neck pain. They will then implement the most effective treatment methods for you.
The main aims of treatment should be to:
- Reduce aggravating factors; which may include limiting screen time and/or improving position of use of the device, such as holding the device at eye level.
- Decrease pain and muscle tension of the neck and improve range of motion.
- Improve muscular strength, control and postural awareness.
PHYSIOTHERAPY TREATMENT FOR TEXT NECK PAIN
- Soft tissue massage
- Joint mobilisation
- Posture control and correction exercises
- Neck stretches
- Neck stabilisation exercises
- Postural taping techniques
- Posture and ergonomic education
- Acupuncture and dry needling
- Hot and cold therapies
- Postural brace in severe cases
- Advice and education regarding preventing and managing the condition
Ultimately physiotherapists can provide YOU with long standing relief, the knowledge to prevent this recurring and the skills to manage/treat your condition.
Rehabilitation is found to be a very effective way in treating the injuries caused by Text Neck. Our 4 week online program will outline in detail your road to recovery! It involves day-day routines of stretches, mobilisation exercises, and postural control and correction based exercises, strength and stabilisation exercises, which are best designed to resolve your text neck!
If you are looking to alleviate your pain and cure your text neck for good then please enquire into visiting one of our clinics or sign up for one of our online services for expert help and treatment.
TEXT NECK OR POKE NECK TREATMENT PLAN
Phase 1 - Reducing pain and restoring normal range of motion (ROM)
Pain is a strong inhibitor of optimal muscle and joint movement. The response of pain is our body alerting us to an issue within our body and trying to protect that issue. Pain is the main reason we seek treatment and should be the first symptoms removed!
As pain decreases it is important to begin to restore normal joint alignment and range of motion. Your physiotherapist will assess your muscles and joints and assign you specific exercises to ensure your joints are able to move well throughout its full range.
Phase 2: - Restore full function - Functional rehabilitation
Everyone’s day is different! We all partake in varying activities and demands. Your physiotherapist will tailor your rehabilitation to your lifestyle and goals, ensuring your condition is completely recovered so you can return to YOUR LIFE!
Phase 3: Prevention
Your physiotherapist will ensure you are educated with the best way to restore and maintain proper functioning post your condition With your found body awareness and tools of exercises to manage pain, tightness and strength, you should feel empowered to control your condition indefinitely!