Text Neck is a term for the position many of us reside in when looking down at our mobile devices. It is a position characterized as tilting the head forward, having rounded shoulders, and a slumped back. This position can become a problem when people who spend many hours on social media or their phones are unknowingly straining their necks and spine.
The weight of your average person’s head is about 10-12 pounds. However, for every inch that you tilt your head forward, the weight on your cervical spine doubles. This means that when the head becomes tilted to a 60-degree angle from zoning out looking at your phone for a long time, the weight of your head is exerting 60 pounds of pressure directly onto your spine.
This incredible amount of weight and pressure on the spine coupled with the fact that most Americans spend upwards of 5 hours looking down at their phones per day has resulted in a phenomenon known as text neck. The deep cervical flexor muscles are elongated at the front of the neck but shortened in the back of the neck, resulting in strains, pains, soreness, and headaches.
To prevent text neck, you want to ensure that you aren’t sitting in this straining position when you use your mobile device. When you use your phone, change the position you hold it at. Bring it to eye level and lean against a wall with your back lengthened.
You should also take frequent breaks from using your phone or tablet so you don’t accidentally slouch back into the harmful text neck position. There are even apps you can download on your phone to remind you to adjust your position.
Don’t hold heavy devices in one of your hands for prolonged periods, as this can cause strain and make you more likely to slouch and tilt your head. Try stretching out your neck from side to side, doing yoga, and regularly exercising to reduce the risk of straining your neck.
If you hunch over when working on the computer as well, you can try getting a standing desk to reduce slouching and be less sedentary.
If you already suffer from text neck, you’re likely dealing with soreness, stiffness, or pain. The most effective methods of relief involve at-home exercises, regular stretching, yoga, or physical therapy. Avoid being too sedentary and become self-aware of your posture throughout the day.
Increasing neck strength and mobility is important by doing head rolls, stretching the neck from side to side, and doing chin tucks. If your pain is severe, you may need to see a physiotherapist or chiropractor, to restore function to your upper trapezius, serratus, cervical spine, neck, and shoulders.
Other methods of pain relief include:
Do you suffer from neck pain because of poor posture or text neck? At Vidan Family Chiropractic, we can alleviate your pain and tension in your body through stretches and exercises for your neck, shoulders, and spine combined with lifestyle adjustments. Contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Alex Vidan and get relief from neck pain today.