When to Get a Cervical Spine MRI for Text Neck

June 10, 2022 – 3 min read

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Neck and shoulder pain are common problems that have become more prevalent in recent years, thanks to our increasing reliance on technology. When people use mobile devices, they often bend their heads forward and hunch their shoulders, a posture that puts stress on the neck. This condition is frequently called text neck, and it can affect people of all ages. If text neck is severe, your doctor might order a cervical spine MRI to help diagnose the problem.

Fortunately, people can often resolve text neck on their own by adopting a different posture and stretching frequently to ease stress on the neck. However, in some cases, text neck can limit mobility or exacerbate cervical spine conditions.

Cervical spine MRI for detecting text neck

Text neck can cause the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty maintaining good posture
  • Frequent headaches
  • Neck, shoulder and upper back pain, which might be limited to one spot or spread from the neck into the shoulders
  • Tightness in the neck, shoulders and upper back that makes it more difficult to move those areas

Text neck might seem more like an annoyance than a cause for concern. However, over time, symptoms can worsen as the injury to the area becomes more serious. In some cases, text neck can aggravate underlying conditions such as cervical degenerative disc disease. Additionally, other issues, such as strains, sprains, fractures and thyroid problems, can cause similar symptoms.

Neck MRI can help your doctor differentiate between these conditions. For instance, an MRI of the neck might confirm issues originating from text neck, or it might show a disk problem, thyroid nodule or other cause for painful symptoms.

Based on the results of a neck MRI, your doctor can develop an effective treatment plan.

Touchstone Medical Imaging offers high-quality, affordable imaging to help diagnose the cause of your neck pain. After getting a doctor’s order for an MRI for neck pain, it’s easy to schedule an appointment at one of our many convenient centers.

Preventing and ameliorating text neck

To prevent text neck or find relief in less severe cases, you can try stretching exercises and changing your work and device use habits.

  • When using mobile devices or working at a computer, make sure the device is at eye level.
  • Check your posture frequently and make sure your chin is tucked in with your shoulders pulled back.
  • Take frequent breaks to give your muscles and eyes a rest.
  • Stretch your neck and upper back muscles periodically when using devices.
  • Follow a regular exercise routine to build strength in your muscles.

If your job requires sitting in front of a computer all day, it’s important to make sure you are also following good ergonomics to protect your neck and back.

When to seek help

If you have tried home treatments and are still bothered by symptoms of text neck, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she will discuss your symptoms with you and might order an MRI to determine whether you have damage to your cervical spine or other problems are causing your pain.


Touchstone Medical Imaging offers cost-effective, high-quality imaging services for neck pain. After receiving an order for an MRI from your doctor, make an appointment at the Touchstone Medical Imaging center most convenient for you. Our subspecialized, board-certified radiologists provide precise results your doctor can trust.