Unfortunately, neck pain is on the rise, according to numbers from the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Global Burden of Disease (GBD). The primary metric of the GBD is the disability-adjusted life year (DALY), which takes into account both years lost to health issues and premature death related to various conditions. In 2010, the GBD analysis found that neck pain was ranked fourth as a source of disability. Between 1990 and 2010, the DALYs for this pain diagnosis rose 47%, from 23.9 million to 33.6 million.

Why is neck pain prevalence increasing?

There are a few accepted reasons why people are increasingly suffering from neck pain: there are more people alive on the planet; the worldwide population is aging; and there has been a proliferation of mobile devices.

The first two issues may be general public health concerns, but the third is within our control. While curbing cell phone use may not be enough to completely alleviate your neck pain, it is a lifestyle step that many physicians recommend for prevention of a condition that has been named text neck.

Why “text neck” occurs

The typical adult human head weighs about 10 pounds. Picture taking a bowling ball that weighs 10 pounds and securing it to the top of a stick. The stick would be able to support the ball’s weight when it is perpendicular to the ground. However, if you start to tilt it gradually toward the ground, the stick would lose integrity, ultimately bending and cracking.

The reason the stick becomes compromised is because a weight at the top of a column will exert greater pressure on the column when it is leaning.

Now think again of your head – applying the same concept. Researchers became interested in the specific effect of leaning forward, as occurs during mobile-device use, related to neck pain. The study, published in Surgical Technology International, determined that the cervical spine and its supportive muscles would have to withstand 27 pounds of force when an average head leans forward only 15 degrees. The impact on the body and likelihood of neck pain become more pronounced as a person leans toward their device:

  • A 30-degree tilt leads to 40 pounds of force on the neck;
  • A 45-degree tilt leads to 49 pounds of force;
  • A 60-degree tilt leads to 60 pounds of force.

Getting help

Do you suffer from text neck or another form of chronic neck pain? Reducing your smartphone use can help, but you could also benefit from professional treatment.

At Advanced Wellness & Rehab, you are assured of receiving only the finest quality care, because we have a genuine concern for your well-being and long-term health. See our New Patient Offer.