How to Avoid Text Neck Syndrome

If you regularly use a mobile device, such as a phone, tablet or laptop, you may start to develop pains in your head, neck, shoulders or even your arms. Known as text neck syndrome, these pains are typically due to postural problems when you use mobile devices. These devices encourage you to look down, which may put excess strain on the neck and spine.

Text neck syndrome doesn't just affect people who use mobile devices all the time. According to the Virtual Medical Centre, some people experience some text neck problems after up to just 15 minutes of mobile device usage. If you're worried about the possibility of developing mobile related pains, a few changes to the ways you use your devices may help.

Think About How You Look at Your Screen

The way you hold your head and neck may affect whether you develop text neck problems. For example, you may naturally look down or bend your neck forward when you use your devices. This puts pressure on your head and neck, which may give you headaches, stiffness, muscle weakness or pain. To remove some of this stress, try the following:

  • Try holding your device up – if you hold it at eye level, you won't have to bend your neck down to see the screen.
  • Watch your posture – try to avoid hunching your head forward when you look at a screen and keep your head in line with your shoulders rather than ahead of them.

Tip: Holding larger devices at eye level for long periods may not be feasible and you may feel a little self-conscious doing this with smaller devices in public. If you can't do this, try to bend your neck as little as possible and experiment with positions that allow you to move your eyes down rather than your head or neck.

Take Regular Breaks

You may be more likely to feel stiff, sore or in pain if you use mobile devices continuously for long periods of time. If you're working, you may have no choice but to work on a phone or tablet, so it's important to take regular screen breaks to give your neck a rest. Walking around and stretching may also help.

Try Physio Treatments and Exercises

If you're already suffering from pain or feel that things aren't quite right, you can consult a physiotherapist for treatment and advice. According to the Virtual Medical Centre, physios can treat text neck syndrome in various ways. For example, they may use dry needling or massage to help people who are in pain. They can also give advice on exercises that will help strengthen or stabilise the areas of the body affected by this syndrome.