In our world today, smartphones are everywhere. Approximately 58% of adults in the US own smartphones, and with many using them for texting, games, and work, what is all this technology doing to our bodies? An issue, referred to as “text neck” has become an increasingly common problem in our society. What is text neck, and what can we do to prevent it?
The average human head weighs between 12 – 15 pounds, that doesn’t seem like much, but when your neck bends forward, that weight on your spine increases, and by a lot. The further your neck is bent forward and down, the more the weight is increased. At 60 degrees, the weight can be as much as 60 pounds. That’s a lot of weight to be putting on your neck for an extended period of time, so it’s no wonder that many people have begun experiencing pain and other problems due to this. In fact, it can not only cause a sore neck, but can actually lead to degeneration of the spine, and can even lead to a need for surgery in some cases.
Since getting rid of a smartphone isn’t an option for most of us, what can we do to help ourselves with this problem? There are a few things that you can do to help yourself, and give your neck some relief. One great option, is raising the phone to eye level, rather than dropping your head, while this may be uncomfortable at first, or look strange, it will do wonders for your neck. If that’s not something that interests you, you can also try to look down at your phone with your eyes, rather than tilting your entire head forward. Of course, remembering to take breaks, and giving your neck a chance to rest is highly encouraged, as well.
If you’re already experiencing pain in your neck from this, there are even a few exercises and stretches that you can do to relieve some of that pain. Watch the video below for a quick twenty second exercise, recommended by fitness expert Jill Miller, that you can do at home, with no equipment needed to help cure text neck pain.
If this doesn’t work for you, don’t worry, there are some other exercises you can try to help. Dean Fishman, a chiropractor in Florida, recommends doing the skydiver. Lying face-down on a mat or other firm, comfortable surface, hold your arms straight over your head at an angle so your body forms the shape of a Y. Lift your upper torso from the mid-back, leading with your sternum and keeping your chin down so your neck is aligned with your spine. Hold for 30 seconds, then release. Next, still lying face-down, hold your arms straight out to the sides so your body forms the shape of a T. Rotate your arms so your thumbs are pointing skyward. Once again, lift your upper torso from the mid-back, leading with your sternum and keeping your chin down. While maintaining the upper body lift, pinch your shoulder blades together as you slowly lift and lower your arms for 12 repetitions.
Overall, your best bet for preventing pain, and any permanent damage is to be aware of your body and posture while using a smartphone. Recognizing how much time you’re spending on your smartphone, and the angle of your head can do a lot to improve your overall health. Remember to take frequent breaks, and try to tilt your head forward as little as possible, and for as short an amount of time as possible. Technology is a great improvement to our society, and there’s no need to stop yourself from enjoying it, as long as you remember to stay aware.