The painful truth of ‘text neck’

Many of us have mobile phones constantly, and are looking down at them throughout the day. There should be no surprise that doing this over and over might gradually add strain to the neck. There's even a name for this condition: it's called "text neck" and it's a particular concern for children and students.

Though this ailment has been in the news before, the growth of popular mobile game Pokemon Go may have some understandably concerned about using phones too much. One physical therapist, Anne Bierman, recently told the Chicago Tribune that tilting the head just ten degrees downward adds ten pounds of pressure on the spine. Looking down for long periods of time could be especially harmful to athletes who need their upper body and shoulder strength, the source said.

Two years ago, the Washington Post also reported on text neck, mentioning it by name and documenting the effects it could have. That source spoke to another professional, spine surgeon Kenneth Hansraj, who called this form of pain "an epidemic."

"The problem is really profound in young people," Hansraj said. "With this excessive stress in the neck, we might start seeing young people needing spine care. I would really like to see parents showing more guidance."

With that in mind, it's worth looking beyond teenagers to the adults that suffer from this problem, too. With so many device users out there, chances are many of us can stand some professional advice on posture and muscle control, especially given the possible long-term consequences.

Talk to a licensed chiropractor to get a professional's view of any lingering back or upper neck pain. It's better to know for sure that something isn't an issue than find out when it becomes one.