Is Text Neck the new hazard of modern life?

The negative tendency around the world of being attached to electronic devices and phones has finally started to yield painful results. The distinct posture while texting is now causing an overuse syndrome in active users which has been labeled “text neck.”

Tilting the head forward, as is typically done to view and write text messages, forces the neck muscles, tendons, and ligaments to strain to hold the head up.

Usually, this wear-and-tear-related damage appears in older adults or those in occupations such as dentistry and welding that require keeping the head bent forward for extended periods of time. However, Dr. Hepler, a spine surgeon in Boynton Beach, has recently been observing this condition in much younger patients.

Spine surgeon in Boynton Beach: “Watch out for your kid’s posture”

There is special concern about the potential health impact on teenagers, whose spines are still developing and who are the most active age group among smartphone users.

The posture of a texting person can prompt the development of issues like arthritic changes to the spine, bone spurs, and muscle deformities. The issue with texting compared to other activities such as reading a book or washing dishes is that people tend to spend more time texting without changing positions. Additionally, researchers have found that the most damaging position was text messaging while sitting, not standing.

The head’s weight is magnified

The neck’s function is to support the weight of the head, which weighs 10 to 12 pounds in a neutral position. However, many people look down at a 60-degree angle when texting on their phones, placing an additional 60 pounds of force on their neck. This causes neck strains and sprains and may lead to muscle deformation and chronic pain.

Prevent neck pain from texting

Dr. Hepler, spine surgeon in Boynton Beach, advises you to follow these simple steps to avoid neck pain:

  • Raise the phone to eye level, so the head does not tilt.
  • Control the time you spend texting. Take breaks and change positions frequently; lying on your back, for example, will release the pressure on the neck. Also, consider calling the other person instead of texting to save both time and health.
  • Stand up straight. Good posture, with the shoulders pulled back, keeps the body aligned in a neutral position.
  • Arch and stretch. Arch the neck and upper back backward periodically to ease muscle pain.
  • Stay fit and active. A strong, flexible back and neck are more able to handle extra stress placed on them. Good exercise programs for strengthening your neck include yoga, pilates, and ballet.

While it’s difficult to avoid texting in modern times, being aware of the dangers may help people make the small changes needed to avoid this hazard of modern life.

Need advice or consultation with a spine surgeon in Boynton Beach?

Dr. Hepler is an adult and pediatric orthopedic spine surgeon in Palm Beach County. He treats all conditions of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, and also provides spinal stenosis treatment in West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and Boca Raton. Additionally, he provides non-operative treatment options, such as pain medications, steroid injections, and physical therapy, as well as operative treatment, including both minimally invasive techniques and complex reconstruction. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, visit our website or simply give us a call. We are here to make you stronger and healthier!


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.