Dangers of “text neck”

“Text neck” is a newest way that our daily habits are getting in the way of good posture. As many as 79% of 18-44 year-olds have their smartphones with the, at least 22 hour a day. Maybe this sounds a little ridiculous, but it isn’t a new problem. This is just replacing, or maybe adding to, an older issue of neck position while reading a book or looking at a computer monitor.

Pain and other neck symptoms occur as a result of the abnormal posturing that most people have while looking down at their phones. This position causes excessive flexion in the upper cervical vertebrae, tension in the neck flexors, and over-stretching in the soft tissues in the back of the neck. In some cases, this has been noted as the cause of chronic neck pain, nerve compression, headaches, and early onset of degenerative changes in the neck.

CervicalAlignmentXrays-300x150

Normal cervical lordosis       Flattened cervical curve

The biggest factor in preventing problems is correcting the position of your neck while using your phone. Instead of holding it below your chest, make sure to lift it to face level and pull your shoulders back so they don’t raise up toward your ears. Once in this position, look down with your eyes rather than with your neck. This should bring the spine into a more normal position and decrease the stress on the upper back. If this doesn’t solve all of your problems, try adding a couple of stretching and strengthening exercises like these ones to combat the long term effects of text neck.

Prone multifidus Prone middle trapezius Prone lower trapezius Sahrman #1 Supine arms overhead

As always, if pain is severe or persists for more than several days seek help from a medical professional. There are many more detailed exercises and treatments that may help to correct any damage that could occur in the spine or other soft tissues.

by Birgit

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