Text neck

Perhaps… like me, you or someone you know is in a battle with pain in your neck. Mine occurred rather quickly. I was working on my computer for long periods of time and was doing it in my bed. This seemed like a good idea at the time. I would get an idea when I woke up or before going to bed and just start working on it. After a few weeks of this habit… came the terrible pain in my neck. I realized later that the back board of my sleigh style bed has a design detail that forces my head to be pushed forward just a little. This position took a toll.

Most cases of “text neck” are born of hanging the head in a downward position while reading a device like a mobile phone, iPad, laptop, tablet or other device. This is a huge trend with people. Raise up that device to read! Don’t hang your head over it. This position takes a terrible toll on your neck that can be accumulative. If you are feeling serious neck pain, you body is trying to tell you that damage is starting.

Why the forward tilt of your head does so much damage…

Your head weighs about 10 lbs. The brain alone weighs about 3 lbs. As this weight is brought forward, the amount of force on your neck and the rest of your spine increases and the damage starts. After my battle with this pain, I can tell you that this is not only hanging your head that does this, but a recliner or chair whose design pushes your head into a forward position as well. My favorite recliner in the upright position was also doing this to my head! I now use pillows behind my back to keep my alignment proper in that chair. Do you need to reassess your recliner? Are there other contributors that you need to determine?

One study found that the forward position of the head increases the force on the spine and neck. With 0 degrees being proper vertical position for the head (~10 lb), the study found that with just a 15 degree forward angle of the head, there is a 27 lb weight force. For a 30 degree forward position, there is a 40 lb weight force for it.[1] That makes this problem really hit home…

Do something right away

Here is why it is important to get this turned around quickly. It is important to reverse the inflammation that is happening. If breakdown and thickening happen, you can be starting down the road to a Dowager’s hump. No one wants that. Assess your night time situation. This type of neck pain is made worse overnight by a thick pillow. You don’t want one that raises your head and create too much of an angle for your neck. Temperature therapy can also help greatly. Heat helps soothe stiff joints and relax muscles. Cold helps numb sharp pain and reduce inflammation. Both of these help here. My own first choice is ice pack/cold compress to bring down the inflammation and numb the pain first. Heat helps sooth when the cold doesn’t.

This cold pack is the perfect shape for the neck. It is extremely popular and highly rated. More than 4300 reviews.

This wrap is for the neck that can be chilled in the freezer or heated in the microwave to apply the proper comfort. It sits in the correct area and is lavender scented too.

This is a wrap that can be chilled in the freezer or heated in the microwave to fit around your neck and shoulders. It is popular and very highly rated. This one does, however involve the shoulders.

FIRST STEP… ALLEVIATE THAT PAIN… INFLATABLE NECK TRACTION DEVICE

OK… I will tell you that this is not a good look, but it will stop the pain and can turn the situation around quickly. Maybe you can work out the times and privacy required to use this. This tool cost so little if you get it online. My doctor was very happy that I worked this out for myself. He told me that he could have arranged for me to get this for $600 in the medical system. What a sad statement for our medical system.

This is a device that you can put around your neck and inflate. As it expands, you are supporting your neck in a healthy position and taking the excess weight off of your neck area that hurts. It can also, when inflated enough, give the kind of traction that spaces out those vertebra that are compressed against each other. I use mine in a position most often that would be considered to be backwards. This lifts my chin more and puts a better position for me. You may find that useful as well…

This is the highly rated neck traction device that I own and LOVE. It has always worked well for me and holds up well over time.

Why this device is the best tool

This device adapts to each unique person and shape. The fact that it is inflated allows you to set up the height and position of support that is best for you. This is a soft and flexible device that is kind in usage as well. The bonus is that these are so cheap!

Now let’s look at other factors here…

This problem may be because of bad posture or maybe this is an additional factor. There are exercises that you can do to improve and even correct your posture. If you know someone who does have a Dowager’s hump, this can be corrected with therapy and exercise too! There is no reason to end up in this condition or stay there if it happens! The Dowager’s hump condition is so curved that the vertebrae along the spine can become compressed and the person’s lung capacity and breathing are badly effected.

My preference for posture correction is always exercise first, but this may not be a fast enough solution to help you feel better quickly. In that case, you can try a posture aid to help put your spine in better alignment. This should be just an aid until you get real improvement from the work of proper exercise. These are not a replacement for better posture.

This one is simple and minimal. It is popular and highly rated with over 1100 reviews.

This one is much more of a support brace. It has a good rating with over 1400 reviews.

Here is something that can be of great help to prevent Text Neck

This can be positioned at the desired height and angles. It has fans in the base that help to keep the computer cool and the heat away from you. They have thought of everything! This platform can be folded flat or set to up to 19″ high.

See your doctor

My doctor loves this inflatable neck traction device as much as I do. You should see a doctor about your neck pain. Your damage may be more serious than you realize. Plus if this device is not helping you… you may need more serious treatment and assistance.

[1] Hansraj, K, “Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and Position of the Head,” Neuro and Spine Surgery, Surgical Technology International XXV