From High Tech To Text Neck

neck pain from texting Text neck syndrome is an increase in the overuse of neck muscles causing neck pain due to our computers becoming more high tech and a whole lot smaller. If you are an avid user of any of your hand-held mobile devices and are experiencing neck pain of late, perhaps you, too, are suffering from text neck.

With the advances in technology, desktop computers are now longer our only option. Thus, cases that involve eye strain or neck and shoulder pain due to poor posture while sitting up in front of a computer have downsized as our computer gadgets have ‘down-sized’. Hand-held devices and gadgets now are more portable and much smaller. Case in point: mobile devices namely smart phones, portable gaming devices, MP3 players, e-readers, tablets, etc.

These electronic devices we have today are almost always the size of our hands and actually one of neck pain causes, thus text neck. Text neck is especially the experience of those who contort themselves into highly unnatural positions as they use their hand-held devices.

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Text Neck Definition

Florida chiropractor Dean Fishman coined the term ‘text neck.’ Dr. Fishman also founded the Text Neck Institute. Text Neck™, according to Dr. Fishman is: “an overuse syndrome or a repetitive stress injury, where you have your head hung forward and down looking at your mobile device for extended periods of time…This is a global epidemic not just from texting, but from using all sorts of wireless media.”

When you text or read from a handheld device, more often than not, the head is tilted forward. The head is actually around 10 to 12 pounds, and as it tilts forward, the neck muscles tend to flex to carry the head’s weight. Truth be told, every inch you move you head forward from its natural standpoint, its weight increases by 100%. That said, the more you extend your neck, the heavier the weight it has to bear.

Text Neck Symptoms

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As mentioned above, if you experience text neck, you experience neck soreness and tightness, and you actually also get headaches. If you leave it untreated for a stretch of time, chances are, you’ll develop an inflammation and permanent arthritic damage along with an increased abnormal curvature of the spine. This can occur even more so with young ones since they have naturally larger heads in relation to the body size as compared to adults.

So, the symptoms of text neck include headaches, neck pain, shoulder and arm pain, and even compromised breathing.

Recent studies have confirmed that there is a link between the amount of text messages sent every day and the pain felt. Those who had more text messages sent experienced greater discomfort.

Avoiding Text Neck

Just like any other injuries that involve cyclic or repetitive movement, you can prevent it from happening if you take frequent breaks and bring your neck back to its natural position. Whenever you text or read from the mobile device that you have, instead of looking down, just try to occasionally bring the device upward so it is aligned with your eyes.  Dr. Fishman has developed a mobile app that you can install to help you align your mobile device to the right angle. That way, you can prevent text neck from occurring.

Check out this video for more information on text neck:

Is Your Neck Pain Due To Computer Vision Syndrome

computer vision syndromeComputer Vision Syndrome or CVS is causing suffering and neck pain, you may have CVS. This is a fairly new medical condition recognized in the health care field. Being on the computer pretty much all day and staring at the monitor continuously can seem pretty harmless, but it can actually be one of the major neck pain causes.

Going online for hours and hours is fairly commonplace to many young adults these days. Often times your job requires it.  Studies found out that 50 to 90 percent of people whose work require them to look at a computer screen for several hours have at least one symptom of Computer Vision Syndrome.

Computer Vision Syndrome Symptoms

Blurring of or double  vision, irritation, drying  and reddening of the eyes, headaches, and shoulder pain are also among the disturbing symptoms of computer vision syndrome, which is a short-term condition brought about by extensive use of computer. An article on the American Optometric Association website states: “The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of computer use,”

Cause of Computer Vision Syndrome

Similar to other repetitive stress injuries or repetitive strain injury, Computer vision syndrome is the effect of repeating the same motion over and over again. And even though young people are usually the ones who stare at computer screens practically all day, middle-age people and older are frequently the ones experiencing the symptoms. The reason behind this is that the younger you are, the more focusing power you have. However, if you leave a visual impairment untreated, chances are, you will develop CVS symptoms no matter what age you are.

At the root of Computer Vision Syndrome is usually poor lighting, bad posture, monitor screen glare, inappropriate viewing distance. And, untreated vision problems such as astigmatism or farsightedness can be a cause. Also, aging can have a huge effect on the your ability to focus on objects and this generally starts at the age of 40.

Most of the symptoms will resolve after getting away from the computer, but some may still persist that can ultimately cause diminished visual abilities. And if you don’t do something about it, it gets worse by the minute as you stare right at your computer.

The eyes need to adapt to changing images appearing on the screen whenever you’re looking at a computer monitor in order to produce a more lucid picture for your brain to interpret. Thus, your eyes are constantly focusing and moving back and forth.

Preventing Computer Vision Syndrome

Luckily, you can  do some things to prevent or correct this problem. Proper positioning of the computer monitor (4 to 5 inches below eye level and 20 to 28 inches away from the face)is essential. Lighting should be altered in order to trim down the glare from the computer monitor screen. Furthermore, take breaks away from the computer.

Another essential tip to heed is the “20-20-20 rule” which requires you to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes of staring at the monitor. And poor seating posture can bring about computer-related neck pain so always maintain proper sitting position.

In addition to taking the preventative steps mentioned above, be sure to have your eyes checked. At the root of CVS is uncorrected problems with your vision.
You may not be able to avoid looking at the computer for a significant amount of hours, but you can always do something to prevent Computer Vision Syndrome which can cause annoying neck and shoulder pain.

Work Related Neck Pain

work related neck painWork related neck pain is becoming more common these days with more of our jobs becoming computer-based. If most of your day is spent at a computer, pay attention to how you are sitting.

Are you sitting with your shoulders slumped and your head extended toward your computer monitor? And are you in that position for long periods of time? Better watch out- you may soon be on the hunt for some neck pain relief.

Jobs High Risk for Work Related Neck Pain

The research indicates that women in general are at high risk for work related neck pain. Many women with neck pain develop chronic neck pain which is pain lasting more than a month. The most common affliction is called trapezius myalgia, which is a chronic muscular pain and tightness that extends down the back of the neck and moves out toward the shoulders.

Jobs that may lead to chronic neck pain are those that require repetitive work, typically at computer keyboards. These jobs are primarily in administrative offices, post offices, and banks. In these positions, there is overuse and misuse of the neck and shoulder muscles.

Treatment of Work Related Neck Pain

The usual treatments for chronic neck pain include massage, chiropractic treatment, medications, electrical nerve stimulation and exercises of various kinds. The response to these treatments varies and is somewhat inconsistent. As a result, there has been a lot of research into neck pain treatment. And the evidence is building on the effectiveness of neck strengthening exercises.

Neck Pain Relief With Strengthening Exercises

At the National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen, Danish scientists completed a study to determine the most effective treatment for women suffering from the work related neck pain caused by trapezius myalgia. Study participants were assigned one of these three treatments:

  • Strength training focusing on the neck and shoulder muscles
  • General fitness training in the form of riding an exercise bike without holding on to the handlebars
  • Health counseling

The two groups that exercised did so three times a week for 20 minutes each and for a total of 10 weeks.

The results? The group receiving the strength training had, on average, a 75% reduction in the pain they felt during the study period and for 10 weeks following the study. The women receiving the general fitness training had slight improvements. The group receiving the health counseling reported no improvements in their work related neck pain.

If you are suffering from chronic work related neck pain, or if you at a risk for it, you may want to check with your doctor about seeing a physical therapist for training in neck-strengthening exercises.

Dealing With Neck Pain

Dealing with neck pain can seem to be a pain in the neck, there may be some rather simple changes you can do in your daily living that can help to prevent or at least minimize the pain and discomfort that you feel.

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Most of us, at some point in our life, experience stiff neck pain. Neck pain can radiate to the back and shoulders and can cause headaches. It can be caused by muscle tension and spasm or inflammation of the tendons and ligaments.

There are different types of neck pain and  a lot of reasons why neck pain occurs. It can be as simple as placing your neck in an awkward position like sleeping with your neck twisted the wrong way or sleeping on your stomach. Severe stiff neck pain, on the other hand, can be caused by a blow to the neck or whiplash.

Degenerative disorders like arthritis are among the various causes of stiff neck. If nerves in the neck are damaged, the nerves may be pinched and that can cause neck pain, tingling in the arms and hands and numbness. Stiff neck pain symptoms such as these need immediate medical attention to prevent permanent nerve damage.

   Simple Tips As What To Do For Neck Pain

If you notice that your stiff neck pain gets worse as your day progresses, this can be caused by improper posture. If so, here are some simple tips that could help you out:

  • If you are using your phone almost all the time, it is best to consider using a headset or speaker phone.
  • Avoid sitting for a long period of time. Change position as often as you could. Take time to get up and walk.
  • Make sure that when you are sitting, that your back is properly supported.
  • Alter the position of your computer monitor so it is slightly below eye level and you are sitting forward and looking directly at the monitor.
  • Stay away from looking down when you are reading.

If, perhaps, you are experiencing neck pain as soon as you wake up in the morning:

  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
  • Look for a pillow that can provide support to your neck.
  • You can also roll up a towel and place it in an ideal height to support your neck

There are a few measures that you can seek in order to prevent or reduce any temporary or minor pain.  These include the following:

  • Walking- this can help to prevent and relieve neck pain.  Walking is also excellent for back pain.  Several short walks during the day would do.
  • Apply an icepack to the back of your neck.  Do this for about ten minutes, several times a day.  Continue treatment for several days.
  • Try ibuprofen, or acetaminophen.  Remember that aspirin must never be given to anyone under twenty-one years of age.
  • Massage therapy can be quite effective for dealing with neck pain.

A simple exercise to help relieve neck pain can also be done standing or sitting. Exercises like holding the head erect, tucking in your chin and glide your head back is a very helpful exercise.  Hold it for six seconds and then glide it back.  Repeat this exercise six times but do not bend the head onward during this exercise.

Caution When Dealing With Neck Pain

What to do for stiff neck pain can be simple but, if you have constant neck pain or it gets worse, particularly if it’s accompanied by headache or fever, or if even minor pain does not improve within a few days, check with your family physician.

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Whiplash Neck Pain

whiplash neck painWhiplash neck pain is usually caused by car accidents. During motor vehicle accidents, our body is secured into the seat but the head is thrown forward causing too much flexion of the neck. With this, the sudden forward motion goes beyond the normal range of neck movement causing the ligaments and muscles to overstretch.

How to Identify if it is Whiplash Neck Pain?

First, you need to identify the area of the pain. A common symptom of whiplash is neck stiffness and neck pain. The kind of pain felt differs, but the location of the pain is mostly in the area over the shoulders between the shoulder blades.

Other people can also experience on and off pain which can move toward the ears and can cause painful headaches. Some would also complain of tinnitus or ringing in the ears. Whiplash neck pain cannot be detected for several days after the accident happened, so it is essential for you to be aware of any changes in your neck area.

  • Know the symptoms

Except for the most obvious symptom which is neck pain, if you suffer from whiplash you may also experience blurred vision and dizziness. Other symptoms would include difficulty sleeping and memory problems. The symptoms that you feel depend on the intensity of the injury. There are cases that the injury can cause personality disorders like mood changes, fatigue, difficulty in concentrating and irritability.

  • Undergoing specific tests to identify whiplash

Before undergoing any specific medical examinations, your doctor will be asking you questions regarding your medical history, if you have been in any accidents and so on. These things are important to know if you really are experiencing whiplash. If you really have been in an accident then you will need to undergo certain diagnostic tests.

If your doctor suspects the presence of whiplash, he or she may order a series of test like X-rays or a CT scan to know if the spine or neck vertebrae have suffered any type of damage or injury, or whether you have a pinched nerve. Manual physical examinations are also very common and it can greatly help doctors establish whether the area is tender or sensitive to the touch.

Recommended treatments for whiplash neck pain

Recommended treatments for whiplash neck pain would include ice or cold therapy.  This therapy is usually recommended for the first 48 hours after the injury. It helps in reducing the inflammation and swelling of the neck muscles sustained from the accident. Heat therapy is used following the cold therapy. Heat therapy improves the circulation of blood to the injured area, supplying the necessary nutrients and oxygen needed for faster healing. Pharmacological treatment may be used if severe injuries have been sustained, and especially if the pain is already chronic.

Whiplash neck pain can be painful, and it may point toward something serious taking place when proper treatment is not done immediately. Like any other conditions, early treatment and prevention is the best intervention.

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