Are smartphones becoming a pain in the neck? According to new research, “text neck” is becoming a serious epidemic among cell phone users and can lead to permanent damage. This is because the posture we adopt while staring down at our phones increases stress on the neck and causes excessive wear and tear. If this is not treated or corrected accordingly, the problem may eventually require an operation to correct it.
Since our heads weigh roughly between 10-12 lbs and we bend our necks at a 60-degree angle to look down at our phones, the weight and pressure on the neck increases substantially. When the neck is stressed by the added weight, it can then go on to affect the upper spine and back. Since cell phones and tablets are essential to everyday life in today’s society, it is important to be aware of your posture when using these devices.
Ways to Avoid “Text Neck”
- Do not use your cell phone or tablet for an extended period of time. If you have the ability to work from a desktop, that would be your safest choice. Sitting at a desktop will allow you to be more aware of your posture and to correct it when necessary.
- If at your desktop, make sure the computers are arranged ergonomically, or in a way that allows you to be looking up at the device instead of down.
- When you use your cell phone, raise your phone to your eye level instead of looking down at an angle.
- Stretch the neck and back regularly to avoid the possibility of nerve damage.
Stretches to Keep the Neck Healthy
- Tuck the chin down toward the neck, then slowly rise it up toward the ceiling.
- Rotate the head so that it is looking out over one shoulder, then turn slowly and rotate in the other direction.
- Rotate the shoulders in a clockwise direction while holding the arms down by the sides of the body; repeat in a counter clockwise direction.
“Text neck” is something that can be easily avoided. In order to be proactive about the issues directly related to “text neck,” contact your chiropractor to get more information or to learn proper stretching techniques.