How to Avoid Text Neck Overuse Syndrome

There are many ways to avoid straining the neck while texting. These tips also apply to use of an iPad, Kindle, and other types of hand-held devices.

Cervical Spine Anatomy VideoText neck is just one way poor posture can affect your cervical spine.
Cervical Spine Anatomy Video

Adjustments to Prevent Neck Pain While Texting

  • Raise the phone. Move the cell phone (and other devices) to eye level so the head doesn’t have to be tilted.
  • Take frequent breaks. Spend some time away from the phone—or any type of head-forward posture. Change positions when texting—lying on one's back is an excellent way to relieve pressure on the neck.
  • 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. A strong, flexible back and neck are more able to handle extra stress.

Stretches to Keep the Neck Healthy

Simple neck and shoulder stretches are also important to improve blood flow and relieve tension, for example:

  • Tuck the chin down toward the neck, then slowly raise it up toward the ceiling.
  • Rotate the head so that it is looking out over one shoulder, then turn slowly and rotate in the other direction.
  • Rotate the shoulders in a clockwise direction while holding the arms down by the sides of the body; repeat in a counter clockwise direction.

In This Article:

As overall guidance, regularly engaging in exercise that teaches posture and body awareness is an excellent way to counteract the tendency of developing neck pain from poor posture. Examples of such exercise programs include yoga, Pilates, Alexander Technique, and ballet.

Being aware of the dangers may help people make the small changes needed to avoid this hazard of modern life.

Written by David DeWitt, MD