Excessive device use linked to "text neck"

Posted at 10:24 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 23:24:34-05

That pain in your neck could be blamed on your cell phone. 

Medical professionals have seen an increase in younger patients dealing with pain from what they're calling, "text neck," or pain in your neck from extended or excessive looking down at cell phones and tablets.

The damage caused by text neck can ultimately lead to arthritis, which typically is an ailment seen in older adults. Now, young people and even teenagers are well on their way to having problems much younger in life.

Rob Worth is a physical therapist at Advanced Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in Appleton. He says he's seeing problems now that weren't an issue 10 or 15 years ago. His fear is now even more young people will have pain in their neck or back years from now, because of what they're doing today.

The average head weighs about 10 or 12 pounds, and the further a person leans forward there is increased pressure and weight on the neck. Doing this for hours on end can lead to disc damage, muscle fatigue, and pain.

Dr. Bill Binsfeld of Cornerstone Chiropractic in Green Bay is used to dealing with neck and back pain. But he says he's seeing some younger patients further along in the damage that causes long term negative effects. Pain and problems usually not seen until a person is in their 50's or 60's, he says is happening in the 30's or 40's.

Fortunately, now that we are aware of the issue there are things that can be done to stop the damage and prevent it from getting any worse.

Simple things like tilting your head instead of leaning and using your eyes to look down will help with the neck pain. Also, take breaks from using the devices and take time to stretch your neck.

If you do have pain, be aware of your posture and just how often you are using devices like cell phones and tablets. If "text neck" is an issue you think you have, it's also a good idea to visit a chiropractor for an adjustment.