What Is Text Neck?
Poor Posture Can Place Unnecessary Weight on Your Cervical Spine
Updated September 2023
If you’re reading this on your phone, your shoulders are likely slumped forward. Your chin is likely almost at your chest.
This is called “text neck,” or “smartphone slump,” and it’s becoming increasingly common, especially among teenagers.
In a proper upright posture, the weight of your head — about 10 pounds— is balanced on the spinal column. When looking down at your smartphone, you can place up to 60 pounds of force on your cervical spine. The muscles in the back of your neck and top of your shoulders have to work harder. They become fatigued and strained, which can cause pain, inflammation, muscle knots and tension headaches.
Text neck can contribute to long-term degenerative changes in the spinal column, including damage to the spinal nerves and cervical disks.
When you read the first sentence of this article, did you adjust your posture? That’s a good start.
Habits are hard to break. Here are some ways to stop smartphone slump.
- Bring your 10-ounce device up to your 10-pound head, not the other way around.
- Most smartphones can track screen time. Be mindful of yours and shave it down.
- Take frequent breaks from your phone.
- Move your neck and shoulders through their ranges of motion daily.
Consult a chiropractor if you have persistent neck pain or tension.
David W. Flatt, DC, Northwestern Medicine, Chiropractic Medicine