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.

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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Treatment For Wry Neck

treatment for wry neck

Treatment for wry neck is a condition which is characterized by muscle spasms in the neck. This condition happens suddenly. Wry neck and torticollis is common and it usually affects women.

The cause for the muscle spasms is unknown. In some cases, the compression of nerves may be the cause. Inflammation, dislocation of the joint in the neck and infection are other probable causes.

Another possible factor is heredity. In congenital wry neck, a baby is born with a malformed neck muscles. Others may have involuntary tics and spasms.

Doctors are still unable to pinpoint the exact reason on what causes this condition. Before, cases were linked to mental disorders like hysteria. Some would also believe that in rare cases, it could also be caused by emotional problems as well.

How Wry Neck is Diagnosed

If you are experiencing symptoms of wry neck, it is important that you should be examined for any signs of muscular asymmetry. Your doctor will be asking you questions about past nerve and muscle disorders and if you have been in a recent accident affecting the head and neck. Doctor’s will then advise you to undergo certain test like a neurological examination, CT scans and MRI’s.

Various Treatment For Wry Neck

A lot of people have benefited from medical and alternative therapies for wry neck. But, these treatments may not work for everyone. It is important for you to find one that is effective and helpful to you.

Drug Therapy

Doctors would first prescribe painkillers like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAID’s) and aspirin; muscle relaxants like diazepam; and anticholinergic drugs to block unnecessary nerve impulses.

In some situations, drugs like haloperidol are prescribed, but be careful with its side effects which is lethargy and possible muscle disorders.

Surgery

When you think that drug therapy is not helpful to you, another approach is to undergo neurosurgery to treat the affected nerves that control your neck muscles.

Alternative Treatment for Wry Neck

Alternative treatment for wry neck may include physical therapy and massage which can provide temporary relief from pain. When these treatments have been started immediately after the onset of the disease, it can possibly help cure wry neck. These therapies would consist of stretching exercises to help strengthen the neck muscles.

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a treatment that uses fine needles to certain pressure spots in the body to release energy. This is performed by a qualified acupuncturist for six sessions.

  • Biofeedback

This treatment helps you control and relax your neck muscles.

  • Chiropractic

Chiropractic therapy is used in treating neck pain especially wry neck through electrical stimulation and manipulation.

  • Meditation

People who are having neck tension will benefit from this treatment.

  • Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy includes alternating hot and cold bath, underwater massage and whirlpool bath to alleviate muscle and neck pain.

  • Massage therapies

This treatment for wry neck is combined with physical therapy which is very helpful. You can choose from the traditional massage or opt for a more vigorous or hard massage.

 

Wry Neck

Wry NeckWry neck, which is another of the common neck pain causes, is a condition of the neck that is medically known as torticollis. This is a condition where there is abrupt and severe neck pain which eventually may lead to contractions of the neck muscles. This will then cause the head to be turned to only one side due to problems in maintaining the normal head position.  

Wry neck may develop after a vigorous jerk or movement or even after a minimal head turn. Some may be awaken from their sleep because of the severe pain experienced. Wry neck can happen quite easily in children. It can also be a congenital deformity.

 What You Can Experience With Wry Neck

Most often, this condition is linked to the spasm of the scapula muscles known as trapezius, which is located in your upper back and reaches up toward your neck. Or, it can be associated with viral infections and herniated discs. 

Symptoms that you expect to experience are severe pain on one side of your neck and the inability to turn your head. The pain is more severe in the lower area of the neck and may radiate down to the scapula and shoulders, thus causing shoulder pain as well.  

You may also find yourself with certain symptoms like head tremor, headache, and limited movement of the upper and lower extremities. 

The Diagnosis For Wry Neck

The diagnosis for wry neck is done after physical examination. The physician first notes the kind of pain you are experiencing and observes your ability to maintain a good and proper posture. After which, medical exams will show a limited movement of the muscles and slowing down of the reflexes. Diminished reflexes can also indicate nerve root involvement and may signify a herniated disc.

Aside from a physical examination, the physician also notes your medical history and ask certain questions about your pain and disability. 

Normal x-rays of the neck are also performed to check for any fractures. CT scans and MRI imaging may also be done to make sure there are no abnormalities in the tissues of the neck like the presence of cysts or tumors.  

EMG is also a technique that records the electrical activity of the skeletal muscle. This exam is helpful in determining the nerves and muscles affected. This may be done if the diagnosis is not quite clear.

Treatment For Wry Neck

Treatment may include the use of muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medications. Even though heat is very relaxing, alternating it with ice packs is a lot more effective. Ice packs not only reduce the pain but they also reduce the swelling of the tissues as well. 

An anti-inflammatory medication is effective in reducing pain and inflammation but a stronger prescription is needed when pain becomes more severe. There are a lot of prescription pain medications like opiate-based meds that can unfortunately cause side effects like dizziness, drowsiness and constipation. If you are on these meds and you start to experience these symptoms, call your doctor right away. 

Another treatment of wry neck is physical therapy. Physical therapy includes programs that can help in restoring back mobility and lessen pain.  

Surgical treatment is also another option for cases of permanent wry neck. The goal of this intervention is to cut and reattach the affected muscles to remove the constricting bands of tissues, improving the range of motion and allowing the head to be placed in a normal position.  

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