How to get rid of the pain in your neck known as ‘text neck’


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – How often do you use your phone? Be honest.

Armando Cranca admits to hunching over his cell phone for hours every day.

“I’m pretty much addicted to my phone,” Cranca said.

The texts, the games, the social media, it’s all right there at our fingertips. But doctors say staring down at your cell phone or tablet screen could cause serious, long-term pain.

“Neck pain is extremely common in my office,” said Dr. Alan Daniels, a spine surgeon at University Orthopedics in Providence.

“Putting your head down in that position causes a great amount of stress on the muscles and the ligaments in your neck,” Dr. Daniels added. “That can cause usually acute, but also chronic pain over time.”

The pain is sometimes referred to as “text neck”

“I have not seen any permanent injuries or severe problems from looking down,” Dr. Daniels said. “My fear is that people that do this for years. Children are staring at their phones, and as they do this year after year after year, we may see an epidemic of more cervical arthritis and cervical pain.”

Dr. Daniels said the solution is simple.

“The best way to help the pain is actually to stop looking down at your phone so much,” Dr. Daniels said. “Either reduce the amount of time on your phone or hold the phone in a better position so you can look straight forward at it.”

“The most important thing is just not to have the gaze of your eyes looking down so much. Try to keep it forward. It’s whatever you can do to get your phone and your tablet up in a better position in front of your face,” Dr. Daniels added.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.