Text Neck – symptoms from using your tablet or phone

Neck symptoms from using your tablet or phone

If you are experiencing neck symptoms such as tightness, achiness, soreness or pain you might be surprised to learn that it may be coming from using your tablet or phone.

This phenomenon is known as “text neck” and is due to our chronic attachment to our beloved electronic devices.  “What we are seeing more and more is early onset degenerative changes in the spine.  And, although these devices have made our lives more efficient, we are seeing very young patients come into the office with a long list of neck related symptoms, some of which are irreversible.  When the head is in a bent forward position, not only does it cause a lot of wear and tear on the muscles, ligaments and joints, but more importantly it can cause the spinal cord and nerves to become pinched off, leading to widespread pain and symptoms.  This is concerning for all people especially children and teens whose spines and nervous systems are still developing” reports Victoria Chiropractor Dr. Stephanie Louie.

Below are a list of symptoms that are commonly associated with text neck:

  • Neck pain, neck soreness, neck stiffness
  • Shoulder pain
  • Upper back pain
  • Mid back pain
  • Arm pain
  • Wrist pain and Carpal Tunnel-like symptoms
  • Hand pain
  • Headaches
  • Muscle spasm
  • Jaw pain

Three things you can do to avoid text neck:

  1. Make sure you are not looking down at your tablet or phone. It is best to keep the devices at eye level.  “A technique that we commonly tell our patients at Mind Body Spine is to sit with your back  and head supported against something like a headboard or wall.  Have your knees bent at 90 degrees and rest your forearms on your knees while holding your device at eye level.”
  2. Take breaks from your phone every 15-20 minutes. During these breaks stretch your neck by extending your head back, tip your ear to your shoulders from side to side and look over both shoulders and rotate your head.  Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds.
  3. “We tell our patients that some of the best things they can do for their neck are posture exercises such as mirror image neck exercises over fulcrums and cervical traction exercises that can be easily done at home.”


The suggestions and advice provided by Dr. Louie should not be relied upon in place of a chiropractic professional assessment.