Text Neck – What Staring at Screens is Doing to Your Posture and Health
Do you have neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain or spasms? They could be a result of a phenomenon known as “Text Neck”. According to SpineHealth.com, Text Neck describes the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long. The average human head weighs about 12 pounds, but for every inch we lean forward our head weighs an additional 10 pounds. Bending your neck to read a text message puts about 60 pounds of pressure on your neck!
It’s common to see people looking down and checking messages or playing games on their phones. Smartphone users typically spend two to four hours per day looking at their phones, which add up to several hundreds of hours per year. The most devoted smartphone users, teenagers, can spend eight hours per day, or more, on their phones!
All of that repeated pressure causes huge amounts of wear and tear, muscle strain, herniated discs, pinched nerves, as well as degeneration of the neck and spine. There is a risk of losing the curvature in the neck, which may require corrective surgery. Teens and young adults are particularly at a high risk for developing these injuries, which normally affect people in their late 40’s or older.
There are several things you can do to prevent and treat poor posture and the resulting pain.
- Keep your smart devices at eye level to prevent leaning forward.
- Make sure laptops and desktop computers are positioned to be read at eye level.
- Take at least two breaks an hour when working at your computer for long periods of time.
- Stretch your neck, spine, chest, and hips every day; spend at least 15 minutes getting all of the kinks out.
- Strengthen your core muscles so they can help support your upper body and help create proper posture.
- Be cognizant of your posture throughout the day. Are you leaning forward to watch TV or drive? Being mindful can help you maintain good posture and relax sore muscles.
- Massage and physical therapy will help prevent neck and shoulder pain from worsening. Please make an appointment to see us for relief from pain and regaining full range of motion.
We love technology too, but it’s essential to take good care of your neck and spine.