Smartphone users spend an average of four hours every day hunched over, sending texts or checking social media sites. Experts say for every inch the head tilts forward, the pressure on the spine doubles.Text neck is a modern term used to describe the neck pain and damage resulting from looking down at your cell phone or tablet too frequently and for too long.
How Texting can Damage your Neck
A key factor for text neck pain is the weight of the head. Tilting the head forward to 15 degrees places about 12 kg of force on the neck. This increases to 18 kg at 30 degrees, 22 kg at 45 degrees and 27 kg at 60 degrees.
Can’t grasp the significance of 27 kg ? Imagine hanging an 8-year-old child around your neck for several hours every day.
That’s 27 kg of weight stress on muscles and nerves that are meant to handle 5.5 kg of stress, that much load can do a lot of damage over time. The neck is not able to withstand this amount of pressure over a prolonged period.
Signs and Symptoms of Text Neck
- Stiff neck: the most common presentation of Text Neck is neck pain, stiffness and soreness.
- Nagging or sharp pain in the neck or shoulders at the end of the day.
- Headaches made worse when looking down.
- Muscle weakness: the shoulders muscles become weak
- Early onset of arthritis in the neck, leading to chronic problems.
- Disc compression
- Loss of lung capacity by as much as 30 percent..
- Balance issues: prolonged amounts of time in the forward head posture have been linked to reduced balance control, due to the head’s center of gravity migrating further in front of the body. This can result in muscle imbalances and postural control changes in the neck and torso.
- Cervical radiculopathy: can occur when a cervical nerve root becomes irritated or compressed, causing electric shock-like pain, pins-and-needles tingling, or numbness that may radiate from the neck down to your arm and your hand.
Protect your Neck from Text Neck
Prevention is key when it comes to Text-Neck, the following tips can help you avoid texting your way to neck injury:
- Keep your device at eye level: the bottom line is to avoid looking down with your head bent forward for extended periods throughout the day.
- Take a break every 20-30 minutes. If you’re going to spend a long time with your device, be sure to take frequent breaks. Get up and walk around, and do your neck stretches
- Pay attention to your forward head posture. Spend a couple of days paying careful attention to the position your head is in.Work to correct your forward head posture, and keep your chin parallel to the floor.
- Go hands-free whenever you can. to minimize how much time you spend looking down at your phone
- Turn technology to your favor: there are phone apps available that can detect and alert you when your phone is being held at a bad angle for your neck.
- Do 10 minutes of yoga: can make a difference,the best way to treat and prevent neck and back pain is yoga.
- Exercises and stretches to increase the neck’s strength and flexibility. Tilt your head from left to right a few times. Look over your left shoulder, and then slowly turn your head to look over your right shoulder. Roll your shoulders and neck. Anything you can do to get those stiff muscles moving will pay off.