Ding! A new Facebook post. Buzz! A new text message. You’ve just
got to look. Once you look, you just have to check something else. Once
you check something else, you’re led down the proverbial rabbit
hole that is your smartphone, tablet, or wireless device. You just can’t
look away! It seems like in today’s social media, wireless driven
society that we are all there. In fact, a recent study shows that 79%
of the population between ages 18 and 44 have cell phones with them at
all times and only 2 hours of the day are spent without their phones.* WOW.
What if looking at your phone frequently and incorrectly is causing unforeseen
health issues. “Text neck” is a term used to refer to neck
pain and damage sustained from staring at your smartphone or tablet too
long.* With advances in technology, issues like this that were unheard
of centuries ago, are now becoming health concerns. Let’s take a
deeper look into the symptoms and issues associated with text neck.
- Upper back (thoracic spine) pain ranging from chronic to periodically nagging
to sever muscle spasms
- Shoulder tightness, discomfort, and pain (thoracic spine)
- Pinched nerves in (cervical) spine resulting in tingling or painful sensation
in arms or hands.
- Muscle pain around the neck (cervical spine).
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms or worried that
these symptoms may start to appear based on the frequency of your cell
phone use, there are some simple things you can do to prevent this from
- Hold your cell phone (and other screens) at eye level as much as possible.
This prevents you from having to look down and strain your neck.
- Take breaks from your screen (computer, tablet, smartphones, etc…)
throughout the day. Get up and move around frequently.
- Position your computer monitor so that you are looking forward and your
head, spine, and shoulders are in alignment.
- Stretch and strengthen – your midline – a.k.a. CORE, do chin
tucks, shoulder blade squeezes, shoulder rolls, etc… You need strong
muscles (abdomen, lower back, upper back, shoulders) to support your upper
body – including the neck (cervical spine).
The issue of “text neck” is a commonly increasing one in our
society today. With the blessing (and curse) or technology in our world,
taking preventative measures to ensure the long term health of your spine
is important and necessary. Please join us in making these adjustments
to our health and to the way we function on a daily basis.
*Sources: Shoshany, Steven. “A Modern Spine Alignment: Text Neck”.