There’s no beating around the bush on how reliant we are on our smartphones these days, and there are no signs of it stopping. While these devices assist us in everyday life with googling, photographing and staying connected to the world, they are also causing some wear and tear on our health. Especially our necks.
What is it?
If you haven’t heard of it yet, ‘text neck’ is the term used to describe the pains we get from continuously tilting our heads to look down at our phones (or devices) for long periods of time. According to Dr. Kenneth L. Hansraj, and his study on the stress in the spine caused by the position of the head, people spend an average of two to four hours a day with their heads tilted forward, looking at a smartphone.
Dr Hansraj’s study found that when we angle our heads forward the weight on our necks increases. For instance, when your spine is in a neutral position it weighs around 4-5kg, but at a 60 degree angle the weight on the spine is 27kg. This continuous strain on our necks and spine can cause symptoms such as upper back, shoulder and neck pain, as well as chronic headaches and even an increased curvature of the spine.
What can you do?
Are you suffering from these symptoms, or look at your phone a bit to frequently? Some of the things you can do to prevent text neck are to make sure to hold your phone at eye level as much as possible, do stretching exercises, and get a massage. Some neck stretching exercises include looking gently to the left over your left shoulder, and holding the position for five seconds. Then repeating on the right side. Another exercise that is believed to help text neck, and the slouching posture that it brings, is chin tucks. Chin tucks are done by sitting up straight and tucking in your chin – not to your chest, but back towards your spine, and hold for 3-5 seconds. Some find it helpful to put their fingers on their chin to have a ‘starting point’, before tucking in the chin.
If you’re suffering from text neck or other neck pains, a massage at Fremantle Remedial Massage Clinic can offer great relief. Our talented massage therapists can provide the best treatment for your specific neck pains and recommend many stretches and exercises for you to do on your own time.