If you’re like most people, your head is buried into your smartphone. Handheld devices make life easier, satisfying our need for instant gratification – but using one incorrectly may be causing your body serious harm. Commonly referred to as “text neck,” this growing epidemic is characterized by sore shoulders, back pain, and recurring headaches. But there is relief. The chiropractors at Ideal Spine Health Center have some tips to avoid the pain.
The average human head weighs 12 pounds. As the neck bends forward, the weight on the cervical spine increases. When you hunch over to look down at your phone, your neck bends to a 60-degree angle, increasing the weight on the cervical spine from 12 pounds to 60 pounds! Your muscles are not meant to hold such heavy weight for long periods of time, yet people hold this position throughout the day as they text, email, and surf the web, totally unaware of the damage being inflicted on their joints.
Since you probably won’t be ditching your smartphone anytime soon, there are things you can do to alleviate some of the physical impact and minimize stress to your neck.
- Raise your phone. Hold your phone at eye level instead of near your abdomen, keeping your ears directly above your shoulders. Doing so will keep your head from tilting forward so there is no added weight or pressure on your cervical spine.
- Take frequent breaks. It’s easy to become engrossed in your mobile world, but it’s important to look away from your screen often. Not only will this give your muscles a break, it will also diminish strain to the eyes.
- Stretch your neck. Rotating your neck from left to right throughout the day will help prevent stiffness. If you have trouble remembering to stretch, set an hourly reminder until it becomes a habit.
- Strengthen your muscles. There are many quick and easy exercises you can do to increase muscle strength. A strong core is key to improving your overall posture. The better your posture, the better equipped your body is to support the weight of your head.
- Take advantage of your phone’s voice commands. Using tools such as Siri will force you to lift your phone to your mouth, instead of looking downward and manually inputting the information.
- Breathe! Take a deep breathe in, slowly letting it out and repeat throughout the day. Text neck compresses your ribs, restricting your lung capacity, so deep breathing exercises help combat this issue.
We live in an ever-growing technological world and we must adapt accordingly. It’s important to stay connected, but it’s even more important to stay connected safely. Your body will thank you for incorporating these tips into your daily routine. And if you are experiencing pain associated with text neck, do not hesitate to see a chiropractor. The experts at Ideal Spine Health Center in Eagle, Boise, and Meridian, Idaho are happy to help you with your healing.
For more information on this issue or to take advantage of our no-charge consultation, please contact us or call (208) 939-2502 today.