Text Neck… The Disease Of This Era!

Image Source: Physio-pedia

Medical science evolves with time. Similarly, the diseases that don’t exist a decade back have become prevalent now. One such syndrome is Text Neck Syndrome.

The majority of the world in this era is a prisoner in the smartphone cage. More than half an hour without the smartphone gives the users anxiety about missing the messages, calls, and social media notification. So the use of smartphones is part and parcel of life now. The constant usage with the neck bent down to scroll the phone has given rise to this syndrome called the text neck syndrome.

Text Neck syndrome, also called iNeck, Turtle Neck Posture, or Anterior Head Syndrome, is an emerging concern in teenagers. In the United Kingdom, approximately 79% of teenagers have and use smartphones. Flexing the neck forward to 15, 30, 45, and 60 degrees for using the phone applies a force of 27, 40, 49, and 60 pounds respectively on the neck.

Image Source: Physio-pedia

This amount of stress on the neck is similar to occupational overuse syndrome or repetitive stress/strain injury.

Usually, smartphone users present with complaints of a stiff neck, pain, and soreness in the muscles, and headache. The pain may radiate to shoulders and arms, and the patient may complain of weakness of shoulder muscles, tightened, and reduced mobility. In the long run, this may lead to earlier onset of arthritis, spinal degeneration, vertebral collapse leading to disc compression, flattening of thoracic kyphosis, and reduced lung capacity.

The best management approach is to prevent. For prevention, it is best to correct the posture while using a smartphone, so patient education tops the list. Instead of flexing the neck to use the phone, advise the patients to bring the cellphone to their eye-level.

Image Source: Spine-Health

Avoiding excessive usage, taking frequent breaks after every 15 minutes to straighten and move the muscles, and avoiding holding larger devices in one hand for long durations help reduce the neck tension.

iNeck is a repetitive stress injury, so frequent breaks may help the pain, but rehabilitation for 2 to 4 weeks improves joint mobility, stretches the muscles, and retrains the posture; therefore, it is effective in managing the text neck.

In cases of acute and severe symptoms, the primary goal is to provide adequate analgesia. Neck massage, cold or hot packs, chin tuck exercises, neck rotation, and neck bending with or without analgesics should be advised to the patients. A short course of muscle relaxants and non-inflammatory analgesics have been effective in relieving pain.

In severe, extreme, and chronic cases, intraarticular injections and acupuncture may be required.


Neupane S, Ifthikar Ali UT, Mathew A. Text-Neck Syndrome-Systemic review. Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research. 2017;3(7):141-148. Accessed 18 July 2019.

Toh SH, Coenen P, Howie EK, Straker LM. The associations of mobile touch screen device use with musculoskeletal symptoms and exposures: a systematic review. PLoS One 2017; 12(8): e0181220. Accessed 18 July 2019.

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Dr. Arsia Hanif has been a meritorious Healthcare professional with a proven track record throughout her academic life securing first position in her MCAT examination and then, in 2017, she successfully completed her Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery from Dow University of Health Sciences. She has had the opportunity to apply her theoretical knowledge to the real-life scenarios, as a House Officer (HO) serving at Civil Hospital. Whilst working at the Civil Hospital, she discovered that nothing satisfies her more than helping other humans in need and since then has made a commitment to implement her expertise in the field of medicine to cure the sick and regain the state of health and well-being. Being a Doctor is exactly what you’d think it’s like. She is the colleague at work that everyone wants to know but nobody wants to be. If you want to get something done, you approach her – everyone knows that! She is currently studying with Medical Council of Canada and aspires to be a leading Neurologist someday. Alongside, she has taken up medical writing to exercise her skills of delivering comprehensible version of the otherwise difficult medical literature. Her breaks comprise either of swimming, volunteering services at a Medical Camp or spending time with family.


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