Doctors treating cases of 'text neck'

October 13, 2011 8:17:00 PM PDT
If you find yourself looking down to check out a text from a friend, you could be causing yourself a pain in the neck.

We just can't stop texting!

A quick message here, answer an email there, anymore, it's a downright pain in the neck!

"It was a dull ache. Rich up where my neck, where it meets my skull," said Meghan Mullaney, a text neck patient.

That ache sent a worried Meghan Mullaney to Dr. Anders Cohen.

"So, the pain is back here and going to these areas over here. This is the classic, it was the worst back there strapping of it," Dr. Cohen said.

It's all because of texting.

"You can even see the beginnings of the loss of curvature which is essential for the natural balance of the neck," Dr. Cohen said.

Dr. Cohen, who heads the Neurological and Spinal Surgery Department at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, is seeing more patients with what's now called "text neck".

"We referred to it as surgeon's neck back when I was training because just the posture of us leaning over patients and looking down, it was common for surgeons to have neck problems," Dr. Cohen said.

"You don't think that a few seconds of looking down would affect someone's body in that way but it did," Mullaney said.

Then Dr. Cohen was able to begin treatment.

"Well if they're in pain as she was, we do a conservative treatment with medications and physical therapy to break that," Dr. Cohen said.

They also changed Meghan's texting behavior.

"Instead of looking down to text, just bring up the phone to eye level, back so your body is in a neutral position again," Mullaney said.

Some people try not to bend their neck.

What about the younger generation who is already using these devices?

"We should try to reinforce their using them in the proper alignment so that they don't create these problems that will be long term," Dr. Cohen said.

So give it some thought, there might be a simple message here.