Updated: Dec 9, 2020
The average American sends between 250 and 2,000 texts per month. Even if you are not sending or reading a text, you are probably still looking down at your phone throughout the day. Whether it's online banking or checking your Facebook, looking down at your phone is a pending disaster for your neck.
If you think looking down at your phone will not be that impactful, think again... While looking at the screen, it is common to bend the head forward and look down at a 45- or 60-degree angle, which places about 50 to 60 pounds of force on the neck. Now think of that every time you go to scroll on your phone. All the problems that can be caused by the 60-pound weight on your neck are called “text neck.”
Where will you experience the 'text neck' pain?
Typically, you will feel pain in the back and sides of the neck itself, the top of the shoulders (or upper traps), and it can ultimately cause headaches. The longer-term damage is the change that occurs in the curve of the neck. This predisposes you for future issues such as arthritis, herniated and bulging discs, muscle strains, or pinched nerves,
Nowadays, being on the phone constantly seems to be the norm, as a result, there are more and more patients that come to our Wyckoff, NJ clinic who report 'text neck' symptoms. You see, with this new and very common phone posture, it exposes neck problems a lot quicker than in the pre-smartphone days.
Now let’s talk about prevention.
The #1 prevention tip is to avoid using your phone as much, duh! Unfortunately, in these times that is pretty unrealistic, so when you do use your phone place it in front of your eyes instead of looking down at it. (Maintain a neutral neck)
The # 2 prevention tip is to stand up every 30 minutes (because most of us are on the phone in sitting). This allows you to fix your neck posture which is accentuated in sitting.
#3 Sit with an upright posture!
#4, try as often as possible to perform the following exercises to relieve any tension in your neck and shoulders.
Roll your head from side to side throughout the day
Try this chin tuck exercise several times per day:
Stand about 2 feet back from a corner. Place your left arm on the left-side wall and your right arm on the right-side wall, then lean in as far as possible without any pain. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to work your shoulder muscles.
That should do the trick in the way of 'text neck' prevention! If you want to learn more about the proper set up for your workspace ergonomics, check out these two articles:
👉🏽If you are experiencing any neck pain due to texting (or something else) and want answers NOW, I recommend a Free 30-Min Discovery Session (virtual or in-person). Our neck pain specialist will listen to your concerns and give you an opportunity to ask any questions you have. You will receive all the information you need from a physical therapist to make the BEST decision for YOUR health.