Physical Therapy for Text Neck

We found that more and more people are using and looking at their smart phones nowadays, and it may lead to painful neck conditions called "text neck".

If you observe people around you, you'd see that many people with smart phones get very engrossed and spend much of their time looking down either tapping at their screens or watching videos.

In fact, if you're a very ardent smartphone user, you may find that your neck may start to ache and hurt as you use your smart phone...and it's very possibly it's the infamous text neck.

So, text neck (or in some places, they call it "iNeck" or "iPhone neck" haha) is a infamous term for neck pain that is caused by using a handheld device like a smartphone or small tablet. It occurs when you are keeping your neck in a forward flexed position for long hours while

  • texting
  • internet surfing
  • reading your favorite blogs 
  • etc

If you are finding that your neck pain is getting aggravated or worse as you use your handheld device, you may have text neck. You may need to see our senior spinal physiotherapists for a course of spinal physiotherapy to treat your neck damages and pain.

what are the causes of text neck?

So text neck is usually caused by a prolonged maintenance of your neck in a forward (anterior) plus flexion position whilst using a smart phone or tablet over time. Often forward neck flexion angles of 60 degrees or more can be maintained while texting and using a smartphone.

If this posture is maintained for hours on end can cause increased pressure in the intervertebral (spinal) discs of your neck, and this can lead to bulging or herniated cervical discs and pain in your neck (typically called "slipped disc").

Common Symptoms of Text Neck

  • Pain in your neck
  • Pain radiating to one side of your neck, shoulder blade, or arm
  • Numbness or tingling in your arm, hand, or fingers
  • Weakness in your arm or hand
  • Stiffness in your neck or difficulty lifting your head up after looking down for long periods of time

If you are experiencing any of these neck pains and discomfort, it may be a good idea to check in with our senior spinal physiotherapists to get started on the proper spinal physiotherapy for you. 

physical therapy for text neck

If you've been experiencing neck pain from text neck, our senior physiotherapists can provide the right spinal physiotherapy treatments to help

  • decrease your neck pain
  • improve your neck range of motion

We will take measurements of your neck mobility and range of motion, as well as arm strength and also analyze your posture, to allow us to provide the best treatment for your specific conditions.

Common treatments for text neck include:

Postural correction:

Since text neck is caused by maintaining your neck in a forward flexed position, we will teach you to attain and maintain proper neck and back posture. This will help take stress off your neck and can help decrease and even minimize your pain. A cervical roll may be used to maintain proper neck posture while lying down and sleeping.

Modification of the aggravating factors:

Since text neck is caused by flexing your head forward while using a handheld device, our senior physiotherapists will offer strategies to help you understand the cause and effect relationship between your smartphone usage positions and your pain.

He or she may instruct you to maintain an upright position while texting and simply look down with your eyes and may recommend special holders and devices to prop up your tablet while working to help keep your neck in a more neutral position.


Maintaining your neck in a forward position while texting is likely causing your text neck, so we will teach you exercises to counteract the increased stress and pressure that this causes. 

Therapeutic Modalities:

Our senior physical therapist may also offer therapeutic modalities like:

You must work to modify your head and body position while texting, and you must exercise to alter the forces acting on your neck while texting. Once you start physical therapy and work on managing your pain from text neck, you should notice that your symptoms resolve quite quickly. You should be free of neck pain within 3 to 6 weeks after starting spinal physical therapy.

If you find that you have any back or neck pain, be it recently or have been experiencing it for some time already; or know someone who does, do consider seeing our specialist spine physiotherapist. You may even prevent the need for back or neck surgery by early spinal physiotherapy intervention.

Do not hesitate or wait for it to go away - pain is a normal response by our bodies to signal to us that there is some issues to resolve, and the earlier it's resolved, the faster it'd be resolved. When/if one delays on it, it may become worsen/progress into something more serious that may take much more time to resolve.

When to Seek More Help

Sometimes, the pain and limited range of motion in your neck may persist for weeks or months after initiating treatment for your text neck. There are certain signs and symptoms that may indicate a more serious problem and warrant a visit to your doctor.

These may include:

  • Acute weakness in your shoulder, arm, forearm, or hand
  • Significant loss of balance or difficulty walking
  • Difficulty with fine motor tasks like writing or buttoning a button
  • Severe headache

Remember, it is always best to err on the side of caution, so if you suspect something is not progressing as it should during your treatment for text neck, seek medical help right away.

Text neck is one cause of neck pain that has been sweeping the globe with the increased usage of smartphones and handheld tablets and devices. If you develop text neck, get in touch with us for and visit our senior physical therapist for the proper treatment can help you manage your pain and improve your overall mobility.