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Physical Therapy for “Text Neck”

Young man texting on phone and rubbing back of neck.

Technology has quite literally become a huge pain in the neck. With countless hours a day spent looking down at phones, tablets and the like we’re putting extra pressure on our neck. This added pressure and strain leads to pain and headache. This epidemic has come to be known as text neck.

Text neck is the result of maintaining a severely forward flexed position, putting pressure on the cervical spine, a complex system of muscles, tendons, ligaments and/or intervertebral discs that provide support and movement. This pressure causes weakening of muscles and ligaments that can over time cause serious damage to the rest of the body.

Did you know …
Flexing your neck down 60 degrees can create 60 lbs of pressure on your spine.

Cervicogenic Headache

A headache as a result of stain on the cervical spine is called a cervicogenic headache. Cervicogenic headaches are characterized by pain in the base of the skull or just above the neck that can radiate towards the front of the head or eye region. Some have described a feeling of stiffness in the neck before or during the headache. The pain from these headaches is steady and can last for hours. It’s important to note that cervicogenic headaches are the result of dysfunction in the neck that can be caused by more than just use of electronic devices; things such as a job requiring the same neck position all day, an injury/fall or even arthritis.


Text neck and cervicogenic headaches can be difficult to diagnose. However, a skilled physician or physical therapist will be able to diagnose such issues by assessing the movement patterns of the upper cervical spine and abnormal muscular tone in the neck. In some cases, the patient may need a CT scan, x-ray or MRI to confirm the neck dysfunction and severity of it.

How Can a Physical Therapist Help?

It is common for pain from text neck to be treated by medication, but that only yields short-term relief. When neck dysfunction is detected the best course of action is to work to restore normal movement patterns, yielding long-term results. Physical therapists will use a combination of techniques when creating a treatment plan. Most importantly they will use manual therapy to mobilize cervical joints and soft tissue with an added component of home exercise to help restore normal head/neck posture. Additional treatment options include but are not limited to modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation, heat, traction and general conditioning. Once function is restored, prevention is key! Patients who follow through with their given home exercise routine see the most lasting success.

For more detailed information on how a PT can help you, visit the Phoenix location nearest you. For a Phoenix outpatient physical therapy location nearest you, please call toll-free 888.644.7747 or visit us at phoenixrehab.com/locations