It sounds almost silly to describe neck pain as “text neck”, but did you know 2.2 trillion text messages are sent year in the United States and 8.6 trillion globally? (Source: CNN.com). And you can imagine that some individuals are sending many more of those messages than others, making them more likely to experience any potential side effects caused by focusing on their handheld screen for so long.
Text neck is neck strain, headaches, and pain in the shoulders, arms and hands due to prolonged bouts of hunching over a smartphone or other portable electronic device (Source: ACAToday.org). And if you haven’t felt some discomfort from text neck, a loved one probably has. Perhaps a spouse who swears they are about to wrap up with work emails, or a child that has yet to beat the next Candy Crush level.
What can you do to avoid “text neck”? Some of this is common sense, but common sense usually bears repeating:
- Sit up straight with your chest out and your shoulders back
- Raise your arms higher so the device is in front of your eyes instead of forcing you to crane down to see it
- Tuck your chin into your chest rather than dropping your head forward, so you better support the weight of your head
- Invest in a keyboard if you must use your mobile device for lengthy typing
- Resting your forearms on a pillow while typing can minimize neck tension
- Avoid using mobile devices in bright sunlight, since straining to see the screen often leads to jutting the chin forward.
There is the obvious solution to all of the above, i.e., to use your mobile device less, but let’s not even suggest that is likely to happen in our uber-busy and uber-connected modern society. But be smart about how you use your smart phone, so you are minimizing how much you strain yourself to focus on that little screen, and your body will likely give you a big thank you later!
If you would like to read more, or learn about some of the stretches that can help ease symptoms, the American Chiropractic Association has published a helpful info sheet: HealthyLiving_TextNeck.
Absolute Wellness Center in Eugene, OR offers sports medicine, chiropractic medicine, naturopathic medicine, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, and massage. If your “text-neck” requires more than the stretches described above, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 541-484-5777.