Have you heard of ‘text neck‘?
It’s the term medical professionals use to describe the neck pain brought on by the position many texters use: head down towards the chest, shoulders hunched up or forward.
Patients of all ages are complaining to their doctors about neck, shoulder pain and headaches in alarming rates. Upon examination, some cases of early disk degeneration of the upper spine have begun. This can be the beginning of arthritis or even a hunched back.
The lower a person brings their head towards their cell phone, the heavier their head becomes, putting more strain on the neck and upper spine. In a neutral (head back) position, the average person’s head weighs approximately 10 pounds. For a 15 degree forward lean, their head weight increases to almost 30 pounds. At a 60 degree forward lean, the most common forward-lean texting position, their head now weighs approximately 60 pounds!
Here are some tips to improve your posture and prevent ‘text neck’:
- Sit and stand up straight. Imagine you are a puppet with a string on the top of your head and your string is being pulled upwards.
- Stand and sit with your head back. Pull your chin in. Bring your ears over your shoulders.
- Bring your cell phone up to your eye level. Or, when not possible, move your eyes, not your head, down to look at your screen.
- From time to time, check your posture. Look at photos of yourself. Verify for sideways tilting of your head also.
- Take frequent breaks, stretch and when you return to texting, reposition your head back and centered on your shoulders.
-Jane L. Nicholson