Tech-neck or Text-neck prevention

wfaa tv tech neck

Watch Dr. Manning’s interview about tech-neck on WFAA-TV:

It started over 10 years ago with “Blackberry Thumb”, the thumb pain Blackberry users were experiencing after using their device. Now new terms like “tech-neck” or “text-neck” refer to to the discomfort you may experience after prolonged use of your phone, tablet, or laptop;  the repeated stress injury to the body caused by excessive texting and overuse of all handheld electronic devices. The term, and the health condition, is derived from the onset of cervical spinal degeneration resulting from the repeated stress of frequent forward head flexion while looking down at the screens of mobile devices and ‘texting’ for long periods of time. While text-neck is certainly a new medical term, the condition is impacting millions, adults and children alike.

75% of the world’s population spends hours daily hunched over their handheld devices with their heads bent forward. The frequent forward flexion causes changes in the cervical spine, curve, supporting ligaments, tendons, and musculature, as well as the bony segments, commonly causing postural change. Among the chief complaints associated with text-neck are pain felt in the neck, shoulder, back, arm, fingers, hands, wrists and elbows, as well as headaches and numbness and tingling of the upper extremities.

If left untreated, the head forward posture  can result in serious permanent damage including: 

  •  Flattening of Spinal Curve       
  • Decreased Muscle Strength                    
  • Spinal Degeneration               
  • Spinal Misalignment  
  • Disc Herniation                      
  • Disc Compression           
  • Muscle Damage                     
  • Nerve Damage  
How to Reduce or Prevent Handheld Device Related Pain; Tips from Dr. Jeff Manning, Manning Wellness Clinic in Dallas:
  • Limit the amount of time and frequency that you use your device. If you have to use it for an extended period of time, take breaks. Rule of thumb: Take a 5-minute break for every 15 minutes you use your device, and don’t type for more than 3 minutes straight.  Get up and walk around to stretch your muscles. One simple exercise is to tilt your head to one side (ear to shoulder) then to the other side, back to neutral, turn to look all the way to the right, then left.  Back to neutral, then lean head back and back to neutral.  Do all without raising shoulders. Don’t stretch forward…this only accentuates the poor posture your trying to avoid. Do it slowly, without straining. Repeat.
  • Be aware of your posture.  Pay attention to how you hold your device. Try to keep your wrists straight and upright. Loosen your grip when possible.  Alternate the fingers you use to type; if you most often use your thumbs, try to switch to your index finger as it allows you to keep the hands more relaxed.
  • Use a tablet holder: There are many on the market, but all have the common goal of securing the tablet at a height that is designed to reduce your need to keep your head bent down and forward. Keeping your device at eye-level will help to reduce neck pain and possible damage. It can also prevent what is know as “text-neck” or head-forward posture.
  • Listen to your body: If you are experiencing pain in your neck, back, shoulders, hand…or eye-strain, pay attention. Those aches and pains have a source, and in this case, it may be technology.  Overuse of handheld devices can also exacerbate an existing or old injury so be aware of what you are feeling. Don’t’ fall into the trap of, ‘If I ignore it, maybe it will go away’.
  • Seek help: If you are experiencing discomfort, don’t wait, seek Dr. Manning’s professional help. Taking action now could prevent serious health problems in the future. Prevention is the best cure.



Dr. Jeffrey Manning, DC

Manning Wellness Clinic

2702 McKinney Avenue, suite 202

Dallas, TX 75204