Are you texting your way to neck pain?
Noticed a new buzzword in health news recently? We have; and we know all about it…
Despite common misconceptions, us chiropractors don’t only use our magic to attempt to make back pain vanish into thin air, we turn our tricks to other niggles too. And ‘Text Neck’ is one thing that’s filling up the appointment books at the moment. But we wish it wasn’t! And here’s why.
‘Text Neck’ is an increasingly common complaint that consists of neck pain and back pain and damage to those areas as a result of looking down at your mobile phone, tablet or other device too frequently and for too long. Imagine experiencing severe upper back pain. Imagine waking up to excruciating muscle strain. You wouldn’t put it down to the number of text messages you send on a monthly basis would you? But it’s not just your thumb that works overtime during those digital conversations; it’s your neck and back too!
But what about reading and writing? (Yes, they are still a thing!) We bend our necks and look down to do these things too; why haven’t we experienced ‘Book Neck’ or ‘Diary Neck’? Well the problem with texting is that most people tend to do it on a more regular basis and for longer periods. And it’s especially worrying because young, growing children could possibly cause permanent damage to their backs and necks that could lead to lifelong pain. Other symptoms can include shoulder pain and tightness and neurological symptoms that radiate down your arm and into your hand. It’s a serious condition, and prevention is key!
Now we may be chiropractors, but we also live in the 21st Century. And guess what? We even text! (The shame!) We’re not going to tell you to skip back to 1995 and only communicate using your house phone. (For anyone under the age of 25, this is a telephone that is only used for phone calls and can only be used inside your home! Weird, isn’t it?) Instead, our advice to reduce your risk of ‘Text Neck’ is fairly simple:
- Hold your mobile or tablet at eye level as much as possible so that you don’t have to bend your head forward or look down to use it.
- Take frequent breaks from your phone or wireless device throughout the day. A good idea is to set a timer or alarm that reminds you to get up and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes.
- Be mindful of your posture when you’re using your mobile phone. Any prolonged period when your head is bent down is a time when you are putting excessive strain on your neck.
Although our heads weigh between 10lb and 12lb, the effective weight on our necks increases as we angle them down to look at our phones. At a 15-degree angle it is about 27lb, tipping the scales at 60lb at 60 degrees!
Remember that the human body cannot always keep up with the pace of technology. Look after your spine; it’s one of the greatest tools you’ll ever have!
If you are experiencing any discomfort or pain in your neck or back, we are able to help and advise. Contact us to discuss your issues in confidence.