More and more people are burying their faces in their smartphones leading to an unintended condition called “Text Neck” syndrome.” It’s a condition some 77 percent of Americans who now own smartphone face.
What is Text Neck Syndrome?
Text Neck Syndrome is overusing and straining the muscles and ligaments in the neck. The human head weighs about 12 pounds. When the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase.
- 15 degrees: 27 pounds
- 30 degrees: 40 pounds
- 45 degrees: 49 pounds
- 60 degrees: 60 pounds
After hours of looking down at a smartphone, tablet or some other device, the muscles and ligaments become tight and can cause pain in the neck, upper back, and shoulders.
Is getting to the next level of Candy Crush really worth it? Maybe so, but there are steps you can take to relieve the pain.
How to relieve Text Neck Syndrome
The easiest way to relieve neck pain from texting is to chuck the smartphone into the nearest body of water, but unless you’re prepared to live off the grid here are some practical ways to give your neck some TLC:
- Raise the phone – remember that for every degree your neck bends forward and looks down, the weight on the cervical spine increases. Try raising your smartphone to eye level occasionally so the head doesn’t tilt.
- Take breaks – Leave the smartphone at home and take a walk. Spending time away from the phone is a great way to relieve pressure and give the neck a break. Even lying down is a way to use a device without bending the neck.
- Stand up straight – Always exercise good posture by pulling back the shoulders and aligning the body in a neutral position.
- Stay fit – A daily fitness routine full of stretching and strength exercises focused on neck and back health is a wonderful way to ensure that your neck can deal with more stress.
What are the long-term side-effects of Text Neck?
If the symptoms of Text Neck are left untreated it can lead to inflammation of the neck muscles and ligaments and nerves. It may cause a spinal condition called spondylolisthesis, says Sherri Stone, a doctor of physical therapy and patient educator at the BioSpine Institute. Spondylolisthesis is when the vertebrae slips or shifts forward. This can change the curvature of the spine, causing instability and weakness.