More than 95% of Americans now own cell phones, smartphones or other types of mobile devices, like a tablet or iPad.
It’s a great way to stay connected, but this explosion in mobile technology has created a new epidemic: text neck.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that people have become addicted to their mobile phones.
As a society, we spend prolonged periods of time looking down at these handheld devices, whether to scroll our Facebook newsfeeds, text friends or family, or read an article (like this one).
There’s a name for this too: “overuse syndrome.”
In fact, one study found that people an average of FIVE HOURS a day looking down at their mobile devices.
That’s a full third of the total hours you are awake!
And we’re paying the price for it.
Stiff necks, poor posture, upper back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches, tight neck muscles and upper back muscles…
We’re even seeing kids going to the hospital for acute neck pain — a new phenomenon of the digital age.
And it gets worse…
We’re now seeing kids with curvature of the spine.
And research has connected using mobile devices to early onset arthritis and diminished lung capacity.
What is text neck?
The term “text neck” was coined by a chiropractor named Dr. DL Fishman.
In short, text neck is a repetitive stress injury caused by looking at mobile devices or texting for long periods of time.
Here’s what happens to your body when you keep it in this kind of forward-flexed-posture position.
The human head weighs about 10 pounds.
Tilting your head forward 15 degrees adds an additional 27 pounds of stress on your cervical spine.
But most of us hold our heads at a 60-degree angle when we’re looking at our cell phones…
And this places a whopping 60 extra pounds of pressure on your spine and neck muscles, causing a tremendous amount of muscle strain and the painful conditions mentioned above.
You can also develop a condition we call forward head posture.
Fortunately, there are targeted posture exercises that can help with pain relief for text neck. as well as simple steps you can take to avoid developing text neck in the first place.
How to fix text neck
Getting into a good posture is a great way to undo some of the text neck damage.
In the video below, I demonstrate how you can quickly correct your posture and relieve some of the pain caused by text neck.
Here’s how to do it:
- Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides.
- Press your weight evenly across the balls and arches of your feet, gripping the floor with your feet.
- Press into the floor as if you are going to turn your feet out, but don’t actually move them.
- Squeeze your butt tight.
- Pull your belly button into your spine.
- Hands at your sides and stand up straight and tall.
- Pretend you are holding an imaginary tennis ball between your chin and your chest.
- Hold the position for 30-60 seconds.
Do this repeatedly throughout the day to promote good posture and overall well-being, or after being on your cell phone for a prolonged period of time.
You’ll start to feel the difference right away.
Of course, you know what they say…
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
So here are some simple steps you can take to prevent text neck.
3 ways to prevent text neck
1. Practice proper neck posture:
Proper neck posture means keeping your head in a neutral position, one in which your ears are centered over your shoulders.
2. Keep your handheld device at eye level:
This may take some getting used to, but I promise you it will make a huge difference in how you feel.
If you use a tablet, try using a stand on a flat surface so you’re not holding the device and bending forward at the neck.
3. Take frequent breaks:
Believe it or not, people got by just fine before cell phones were invented.
I don’t expect you to give it up completely, but be aware of how much time you’re spending on it.
Keep it at 10 minutes or less at a time. And try using your phone’s talk-to-text feature to prevent further straining.
Did you find this info helpful? For more info about how I can help you relieve your back pain problems, please visit my website PainArthritisRelief.com.