What You Should Know About Text Neck

Text neck is a relatively modern condition caused by — you guessed it — looking at your cell phone or other hand-held device. You might recognize the posture: a forward-tilted head with rounded shoulders and a slumped back (via Healthline). You might even be guilty of bad posture while looking at your phone for a couple of hours.

This position not only looks bad, but it can be bad for your neck. Your head weighs about 10 pounds, and that number essentially doubles for every inch your head leans forward. This forward tilt squeezes and tightens muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the front of your neck while lengthening them in the back of your neck. According to Healthline, this can lead to some serious neck pain. Physical therapist Dr. Karen Wu told NBC that overtaxing the muscles in the neck can increase the risk for disc bulges as well as back and shoulder dysfunction.

How to combat text neck

If you worry that your posture is suffering or your neck feels tight most of the time because of how often you look at your phone, Cleveland Clinic offers some simple strategies to compensate for it. One way is to simply be mindful of your posture and straighten up whenever you catch yourself slumping. You can practice this while standing and imagining a straight line between your ear and shoulder. You should also practice looking ahead instead of downward at your phone. Raise your phone close to eye level when using it, and situate your desk monitor so that you don't have to look down at it. You can also arch your back while aligning your ears with your shoulders to relieve tension.

Of course, one way to fight text neck is to use your phones less often. Take breaks and apply ice or heat to sore neck muscles for pain relief, per Cleveland Clinic.