Is ‘Text Neck’ a Real Thing? | Move Physiotherapy Fremantle

Is Text Neck a Real Thing? | Move Physiotherapy Fremantle

Well, it’s a valid question! It sure does make for a catchy headline… But does repetitive forward neck flexion – as occurs with ongoing smartphone use – become a literal pain in the neck?

‘Text Neck’ was actually coined by a US chiropractor, but typically has other less catchy names such as ‘anterior head syndrome’ or ‘Turtle neck posture.’ It is an ever increasing cause for concern with the rising incidence of mobile phone use – especially in our adolescent population.

Did you know that 87% of teenagers aged between 14-18 years in the USA and 79% of teenagers (12 – 15 years) in the UK use smartphones! In Australia, 95% of adults are reported to own a smartphone! 


The Weight Of Our Head

I have spent the last 10 minutes trying to think of a ‘big head’ joke to add into this section of the article… let’s move on.

The following diagram shows the amount of strain our forwardly tilted head places onto the structures in our neck – resulting in pain in the neck, top of shoulders and thoracic spine. It may not sound like much weight, but imagine these forces being applied for multiple hours throughout the day as we get lost in the latest craze of candy crush or quiz up…


text neck, move physiotherapy

This strain can also contribute to headaches that originate through strain of the joints and muscles in the neck – termed cervicogenic headaches.

More recent studies have even been able to demonstrate the effects of this forward head posture with increased incidence of bone spurs occurring at the base of the skull. Bone spurs occur in areas of chronic tightness where the tendon inserts into bone tissue. Most commonly they are seen in areas such as the heel and plantar fascia insertion.

Is 'Text Neck' a Real Thing? | Move Physiotherapy Fremantle

How Can We Treat ‘Text Neck?’

‘Text neck’ rarely occurs in isolation, and is often associated with other postural syndromes such as an ‘Upper Crossed Syndrome.’


upper crossed syndrome

Your physiotherapist will identify areas of tightness through your neck and upper body. Most commonly, these include the cervical extensors, upper trapezius, and pectoral muscles which pull our body into a rounded shoulder and ‘poke head posture.’ To address areas of tightness, your physiotherapist may recommend a series of soft-tissue treatments including massage therapy or dry needling. These treatments can often reduce or eliminate the pain associated with this posture.

In addition, it is important to identify areas of weakness – most commonly including the cervical flexor muscles and midback muscles.  To address this weakness, your physiotherapist will guide you through a gym-based rehabilitation program. Move Physiotherapy is uniquely equipped with a non-threatening, full rehabilitation gymnasium environment which will be fully utilised to empower you with the ability to improve your posture and prevent the recurrence of these pains. 


Worried that your neck posture is contributing to your aches and pains? Book in an appointment by following the link here and see how physiotherapy can help you!

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