What you need to know about 'text/tech neck' pain of texting age

Long hours spent on your smartphone or tab can cause serious ailment to your neck which is also known as tech neck or text neck
Image used for representational purpose only
Image used for representational purpose only

HYDERABAD:  If you have been developing that thick pad under your chin while the rest of your body hasn’t gained weight you might be suffering from ‘text/tech neck’. It’s a modern age disease among youngsters caused by excessive time spent on handheld devices like mobile/IPads over a long period of time which causes pain and in some cases injury in the neck muscles/bones.

The same is also known as turtle neck posture or anterior head syndrome. The term is coined by US chiropractor Dr DL Fishman. The condition can cause headache, pain in the shoulders, neck and upper back and tense back muscles. Says Dr Syed Shazia Fatima, consultant cosmetic physician who practises at Livlife Hospitals, Jubilee Hills, “The sooner we treat these, the quicker the results are to achieve, of course with lifestyle measures like posture correction.

We have to understand that these lines have formed due to bearing of weight on the skin in a particular manner and these folds tend to lose collagen.”  She adds, “At home, I advise certain yoga positions that help stretch the group of fat and muscles working together, like the baby cobra or floor cobra with external rotation amongst others.

A retinoid-based cream with intense hydration can helps enhance results. Regularly using hydrating masks over the area can help lighten the visibility effectively too!” The chief symptoms of the text neck can be stiffness in moving the neck followed by throbbing or dull pain which can be almost like stabbing sensation in some extreme cases.

The same pain can radiate into the arms and shoulders. The same can cause gradual muscle weakness as well especially in trapezius, rhomboids and shoulder external rotators. The headache that tech neck causes can lead to sub-occipital muscle tightness giving way to a migraine-like headache. The wear and tear can further lead to the flattening of thoracic kyphosis, spinal degeneration, disc compression, muscle weakness and in some extreme cases the loss of lung capacity.

The damage can be unpleasant. Suggests Shaziya, “So treatments that help correct this defect work really well, like cosmetic threads and even fillers. The results may last 1.5-2 years. We can also relax the muscles which form these lines with a Neuromodulator like Botox or others. For someone with loose skin, energy-based treatments like Radiofrequency work well and on a bulkier individual, HIFU is great. In the earlier stages, using micro-needling or the wondrous plasma pen for non-genetic necklines formed due to tech/text neck can work miraculously!”

— Saima Afreen  saima@newindianexpress.com  @Sfreen

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