Neck Pain or Text Neck Syndrome: How Cervical Spine MRI Can Diagnose It?
Millennials are victims of emerging modern-day diseases. And it is primarily due to their lifestyle, especially spending long hours browsing the internet on laptops or smartphones. One of the disorders – and a common one – is the Text Neck Syndrome. A US chiropractor coined the term. It is also known as – Turtle Neck Syndrome. Text Neck syndrome develops because of continuous stress to the normal neck curvature.
How is neck pain associated with Text Neck Syndrome?
We experience neck pain due to an injury or staying in an unnatural or poor posture for a prolonged period, looking down at something (mostly our mobile devices).
This stress leads to the development of tightness and soreness in our neck and around our shoulders. The more we strain our neck, the higher the level of weight it will have to carry.
Can MRI diagnose Text Neck Syndrome?
Many people are uninformed about the term Text Neck Syndrome. They go by “neck pain,” or “inflammation,” “shoulder stiffness,” etc. When you experience constant pain in your neck or shoulder region, you cannot afford to overlook the symptoms. Your doctor will recommend getting an MRI to detect the issue or diagnose your symptoms.
You’ll require getting a cervical spine MRI done to diagnose or discover the cause of your shoulder or neck pain. The cervical spine MRI scan will produce images of your musculoskeletal system, focusing on the neck and spine region. The scan will detect deformities or defects associated with your pain, weakness, or numbness.
Are Smartphones Causing Neck Pain Or Spinal Disorders?
In an upright position, our ears are aligned with the center of our shoulders. And the average weight our head can take is around 9 to 12 pounds. But when the head is tilted forward even by a few inches, the pressure increases drastically. As much as 60 pounds is exerted on our neck when our chin touches the chest.
Our neck and spinal posture changes as we spend an extended amount of time on our mobile devices. As a result, our neck muscles and shoulders experience or bear excessive tension, which further causes chronic headaches associated with Text Neck Syndrome.
Overlooking the symptoms of “text neck” can cause inflammation in our neck ligaments, nerve irritation and also lead to an abnormal spinal curvature. Furthermore, the Text Neck Syndrome can change the structure of our vertebrae, causing a deformity known as “dowager’s hump.” Sitting slumped for long periods can restrict our lungs’ ability to expand – which is crucial for the flow of oxygen in your heart or cardiac system.
Signs and Symptoms of Text Neck Syndrome
Text Neck Syndrome sends innumerable signals through our bodies. And the most common one is “neck pain” or “shoulder stiffness” However, you should also lookout for the following signs to access the right treatment process:
- Stiff neck:Difficulty to move our neck
- Pain:It can be in the form of a dull ache or a sharp pain occurring in the lower part of our neck.
- Radiating pain:Text Neck pain can emerge from our neck and spread to our shoulders and arms.
- Muscle weakness:Our shoulder muscles, like the rhomboid or trapezius and external rotators, are weakened due to constant strain. It causes muscle weakness
- Headaches:The tightening of our suboccipital muscles can cause chronic headaches.
Also, look out for these symptoms:
- Compressed craniocervical joint
- Loss of lung capacity
- Spinal degeneration and early onset of arthritis
If you’re suffering from widespread neck pain, you should immediately visit a physician to rectify the situation and get an accurate diagnosis.
Cervical Spine MRI for Neck Pain or Text Neck Syndrome
Your physician will prescribe an MRI scan to detect the cause of your neck or shoulder pain and come to a precise diagnosis.
An MRI scan is a non-invasive, radiation-free imaging tool that provides doctors with concrete evidence about a condition they might suspect. Using powerful magnets, radio waves, and computer programs, detailed images of bones, organs, muscles, ligaments, and tendons are produced to diagnose a disease or to see how well a patient is responding to the treatment process. MRI scans can help detect minute tensions, strains, or sprains that are often missed in X-rays or CT Scans.
When a doctor suspects Text Neck Syndrome and recommends an MRI – check with your insurance provider to see if it is covered or not. Chances are that it might be covered but might be termed as a different disorder.
Advanced MRI Technology to Detect Text Neck – Upright MRI
The Upright MRI system is a state-of-the-art MRI Technology that scans patients in multi-positional and symptom-specific positions. It is also called ‘weight-bearing,’ ‘stand-up,’ or ‘positional’ MRI.
The technology and design of the Upright MRI system scan patients in diverse positions or exact position where they experience the pain. It is used to measure the precise weight displacement on the craniocervical junction or any other joint of the body.
An Upright MRI system is recommended to patients suffering from Text Neck or Neck Pain. It not only provides high-field MRI scans but also takes images in different postures to show where the actual problem is.
ExpertMRI provides Front Open Stand-Up MRI scans for patients. These scanners are not only Upright but are also Front Open, meaning it is not like the traditional tubular MRI system; it is more like two flat parallel surfaces that have enough space in-between.
This is perfect for patients who have claustrophobia and can accommodate patients of larger size, children, senior citizens, or patients with disabilities.
People suspected with Text Neck Syndrome can get a Front Open Stand Up MRI from ExpertMRI to see exactly where their neck pain is originating from and also have subspecialty radiologists provide a complete diagnostic report about the injury or stress being put on the craniocervical junction.
Preventing Text Neck Syndrome
Preventing any disease is better than looking for a cure. While it is not possible to stop using smartphones or handheld devices, there are ways to prevent the syndrome from taking over.
- Avoid prolonged static positions
- Avoid excess use of smartphones and take frequent breaks.
- Position the device such that it is at eye level and not chest level to reduce stress on the head and neck.
- Avoid repetitive movements like continuous typing or swiping.
- Avoid holding a bulky device in one hand for long durations.
- Try doing yoga to prevent neck pain due to mobile phone use – exercises like the exaggerated nod, cat-cow, or bow-pose can help reduce the stress built-up on the head and neck.
But if you do experience prolonged pain, it is best to get checked by a physician.