Texting neck: pain in shoulders, neck and head

Texting neck is a typical complaint from the 21st century, caused by an incorrect working posture while texting or working with a tablet or smartphone. Complaints arise in the head, neck and shoulders. These complaints consist of pain and stiffness of the muscles. With the right treatment, the complaints quickly disappear.

What is a texting neck?

When we talk about text neck, we are talking about neck complaints caused by an incorrect or unfavorable posture. This attitude often arises when we are busy with the smartphone or tablet. Back when these two things didn’t exist, we often saw that same attitude while texting. Hence the name SMS neck. Texting neck is a condition that is unknown to many people in terms of name, but many people still have to deal with the unpleasant consequences of texting neck. The texting neck was first discussed by an American chiropractor and quickly recognized by many.

The wrong attitude

What we often do when using things like the mobile phone, smartphone, e-reader or tablet is to hold the device below our heads. To do this we bend the neck and look down. The spine is held in a position that is not normal. A great deal of downward pressure is created on the spine. The result is headaches, a stiff and painful neck and painful shoulders. There may also be a tired feeling in the muscles and involuntary contractions of the muscles.
Unfortunately, we often do not notice that we adopt this wrong posture several times in a day. We are so focused on what is happening on the screen that we ignore the increasing tension in the neck and shoulders. Most people are also busy with their phone, tablet or e-reader very often during the day. Pinging, WhatsApping, texting or surfing the internet are things we often do unconsciously in between. This places the neck and spine under incorrect strain several times a day.

The problem of the 21 century

The text message neck is a fairly new problem, since the dawn of cell phones. And especially smartphones and tablets. We know very well that it is not good to sit with your neck bent. We therefore take measures for the fixed PC (desktop): the screen is at eye level and we ensure that the keyboard is as comfortable as possible. Working with something like a tablet is a lot more difficult. Holding the device at eye level requires us to keep the arm bent and raised. Not a pleasant working position and the arm quickly becomes tired. So it makes sense that we lower the device and bend the neck. But a typical complaint from the 21st century.

Treatment and recovery

Anyone who suffers from headaches, neck and shoulder complaints, muscle spasms and muscle fatigue is probably dealing with text neck. No fun, but not immediately worrisome. The complaints disappear quickly with rest. However, anyone who continues to work in the wrong position with these complaints may experience an exacerbation of the complaints. The muscles become irritated and inflammation can occur. And then you are further away from home.
Treatment initially consists of rest and a better working posture. The device you are working with is better kept at eye level. There are stands for tablets for sale, with which the device can be placed at eye level. If you work with your smartphone or similar device in the evenings, you can also lie down in bed, with the headboard a little higher, a pillow in your neck and your knees pulled up. The device can then rest on the knees. An ideal position to give the neck some rest.
If the complaints do not disappear, you can take painkillers and do exercises to strengthen the muscles and keep them flexible. In case of inflammation, a doctor will have to look at it: he or she will often prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs. In severe cases, the physiotherapist can help to do targeted exercises. Strengthening the neck, shoulders and back muscles is central. Massage of the tired muscles can also help.
In most cases, recovery will occur fairly quickly, at least within two to six weeks. In mild cases, where the wrong working posture is stopped immediately, the complaints may disappear after two to three days. Therefore, take complaints associated with text messages seriously and adjust your working attitude immediately. Prevention is always better than cure.