Many people are unaware of the potential harm that can be caused by the excessive use of mobile phones. This is because they are not aware that it can lead to cervical spine problems. The neck is a delicate part of the body and should therefore not be exposed to unnecessary stress from any device, but especially those with so much power. Read on for more information about this topic.

A recent study indicates that 1 in 5 patients are diagnosed with some form of chronic pain in their necks due to prolonged usage of their cellphones or tablets.

As these devices become more popular, there has been an increase in related injuries as well. You may have gone your whole life without having experienced pain before but the regular usage of the device, on which you are perhaps reading this article- can cause the problem.

Cervical Spine problems

There are various types of cervical spine issues, such as C2-C3, C6-C7, C8-T1 type of issue, or any combination of these areas.  The most common type is the C6-C7 or C5-C6 cervical disc problem. These conditions can be diagnosed through gentle palpation and/or motion test.  The patients complain of neck pain and stiffness, especially with rotation movement, causing difficulty turning head to one side. And numbness or tingling sensation in the arm, which is associated with pain….. an endless series of complications can be there.

Pressure applied to the C5-C6 area will cause pain ( called Pressure Pain Sensation) at the upper chest wall, just above the collar bone. This finding indicates the pressure at the C5-C6 disc ( Radiculopathy) or nerve root irritation.

The causes of the cervical disc problem are

These are many. Such as trauma, poor posture (Hunchback), repetitive trauma to the neck through activities like lifting weight. Or certain movements, or positions causing excessive compression to the natural structures in your cervical spine.

Many times a single incident can cause a disc problem that may require surgery later on. In my words, it all comes down to the “biomechanical” demand placed on your cervical spine.

Consistently putting excessive stress across your discs can cause damage or injury to those structures. This leads to causing disc degeneration and/or herniation at some point in time.  

How does using mobile phones excessively cause cervical problem

We look at a lot of things on the mobile phone, from text messages to e-mails, Facebook posts to movies.   We hold our phones and use them excessively for many hours every day. Our heads tend to tilt forward when looking at the screen (Posture), causing excessive stress across your cervical spine discs. This pressure in general or more frequently at the C6-C7 or C5-C6 disc spaces.

Another common activity we do with our phones is watching movies and/or YouTube videos. This also involves head tilt to one side or the other. 

If you are a person who spends several hours on your phone every day for work, school, or entertainment purposes, you are bound to get neck pain and stiffness sooner or later, especially if you don’t change your posture at all while working/texting or watching videos.

Reasons for Neck & Arm Pain associated with Cervical Disc problem –

When a disc injury occurs in the cervical spine. There is inflammation and swelling of the surrounding muscles that control your neck. These nerves branch out from the spinal cord (C1-C7) and exit under your collar bone. Therefore any compression or irritation to these nerves will cause arm pain and/or numbness. This spread of pain or numbness dependss on the location of the pressure/inflammation. The cervical disc issue associated with Radiculopathy is typically a result of:

Injury to the cervical spine causes inflammation and swelling of the tissues around the spinal cord and the nerve roots.

Irritation to the spinal cord and/or nerve root(s) causing irritation of the nerves that travel to your arm resulting in Radiculopathy.   

Persistent stress/strain to a disc space causing abnormal wear and tear or damage to one or more discs in your cervical spine

Ways to prevent excess use of mobiles from causing the cervical disc problem

Avoid using the phone with your neck bent forward. Take a break every 30 minutes to an hour. A not long break. Just for 5-10 minutes by laying down and allowing yourself to relax before getting back into it again. Avoid watching movies/videos while on the phone as much as possible. Limit text messaging (Particularly b/c you have to look down every time you text).  

If you feel pain in your neck and arm, take a break then visit an Ayurvedic physician for evaluation of cervical disc problem. It is extremely important to improve your posture (by doing Yoga Asanas). And do maintain it habitually if you want to avoid future problems like spondylosis (Degenerative disc condition) or several other cervical spine problems such as acute pain, pinched nerve, snapping sensation in neck and arm due to damaged discs.

It is always advisable to take preventive measures to avoid more serious neck injury or future complications of the cervical spine problem. Always use your phone wisely and don’t stretch your neck towards the screen to read or send messages, it will definitely prolong your cervical disc problem and cause a lot of future problems as well.

Tips on how to use your phone without straining your neck, shoulders, or arms while typing/

– Use a wireless headset to talk on the phone while your hands and arms are free to type, text, eat.    

Maintain good posture   (Take frequent breaks)

Maintain proper diet to avoid unnecessary strain on neck muscles that control the cervical spine Proper exercise routine.

A well-designed exercise program developed by a professional (Ayurvedic physician, physiotherapist) will help strengthen your neck muscles and reduce tension on disc spaces.

These all help together to improve the posture and reduces stress which irritates the nerves in the spine.

Don’t fall prey to the youtube videos titled- Yoga for your neck. These can complicate the condition. You can now consult with us from ease of your home.

I hope the above article on “Neck & Arm Pain due to Cervical Disc problem” is useful. For more information like this, share this article with your friends and relatives. Feel free to ask questions or leave suggestions in the comment section below! Have a Nice day!! Stay Healthy!

References: Cervical Disc Herniation
http://cervicaldiscproblemblogspotblog-ca.blogspot .in/2012/05/how-to-prevent-neck-pain-from.html      http://www.treatment4neckpain

Vaidya Pradeep Sharma (MD)

Sukhayu Ayurveda for most trusted Ayurvedic hospital for spinal problems

Sukhay Ayurveda is one of the prime institution of Ayurveda. National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers- famously known as NABH under quality council of India- awarded Sukahyu NABH accreditation in year 2017.