Runner’s Knee, Tennis Elbow,…Text Neck?
To say that mobile devices are unavoidable in this day and age is an understatement. All you have to do is look away from your own phone to notice everyone else with hunched over with locked gazes down at theirs. Whether you’re playing games on your commute, setting up meetings for your workplace, or catching up on all the juicy gossip in your Whatsapp group chat), there is no doubt mobile technology from your phone, tablet, or laptop are integrated into our society and lifestyles. These are devices simultaneously used for both productivity and leisure – how are we supposed to escape that? A study done by the International Data Corporation (IDC) in 2013 showed that 79% of the US population between ages 18 - 44 have their mobile devices on their person almost all of their waking day, with the average time of separation being a mere two hours.
The average head weighs about 10 - 12lbs, but this weight increases depending on the angle of your neck as you look forward, causing stress on the spine. The prolonged time spent in this ‘Text Neck’ posture results in upper back and neck pain. So how can we prevent this from happening? It all goes back to posture! It may not be possible or practical to remove mobile phones from our lives, but we can sure be aware of our bodies and minimize the time we spend on them.
Here are some tips on how to prevent text neck in your daily life!
Perform Neck Exercises/Stretches
The neck contains muscles that can be strengthened just like your chest, back, shoulders, and legs. Performing simple neck stretches are important and can help increase blood flow and relieve the built-up tension from constantly being on the phone all day.
The movements do not have to be complex! Slowly nodding up and down, side to side, and rotating can be sufficient!
Additionally, try pulling your head to the side and rotating your neck toward the same shoulder (depicted below)
Minimize Phone Use/Take Breaks
If your job revolves around using the phone, then think about using a headset instead to avoid cradling the phone on those super busy days to relieve your neck of unneeded stress.
If you’ve been sitting too long, take a break and use the time to move – maybe perform the exercises described above.
Hold Your Phone Higher
Whenever possible, instead of tilting your neck all the way and hunching your back to look at your phone, try holding your phone higher – just about eye level. This will help keep the spine neutral and stress-free.
Thanks for reading!