How to Fix Your “Text Neck”
Your phone just buzzed.
You picked it up to look at your latest text or push notification.
Did you notice how your head, neck and shoulders were positioned? That downward glance, that bend in the neck, and your chin almost touching your chest has a name–“text neck.”
We spend a LOT of time on our phones
If you are of “a certain age” and keep a mobile phone around for making the occasional phone call or text, you are probably safe from text neck.
For most of us, from tweens to twentysomethings to overworked parents and employees, our mobile devices are almost always within reach.
In 2018, it’s estimated that the average American adult will spend three hours and thirty-five minutes per day on mobile devices. That amount of time spent (over 20 hours each week!) in a poor posture is almost guaranteed to cause you pain!
Our bodies respond to the inputs we give them. If you spent five, ten or twenty hours a week working out, you’d certainly build muscle and cardiovascular endurance. On the other hand, if your give your body several hours day of poor posture practice, “text neck” is a very likely result.
More Than Just a Pain in the Neck
While the most common symptom of excessive mobile device use with poor posture is neck pain, it’s certainly not the only possible result.
Text neck can also cause pain in the upper back, ranging from stiffness to spasms. Tight neck muscles can also influence shoulder tightness and pain. Even worse, your cervical nerve can become compressed, which leads to both pain and neurological issues in your arms and hand (that’ll put a crimp in your texting!).
Preventing Text Neck with Proper Posture
1. Hold Your Device At Eye Level
This may take a bit of getting used to, but it is the best way to prevent text neck. Yes, you may get a few people wondering if you’re taking a picture, but your neck, shoulder and back will be much happier in the long run.
Holding your device at eye level requires a bit more effort. Ease into this habit by observing the “second text rule.” If you are sending or reading a single text, you can check your phone normally, but the moment you start sending a second text, start thinking about bringing your phone up to eye level. This keeps you from staying in a less-than-ideal posture for very long, without making you lift your phone to eye level every single time it buzzes.
2. Take a Break & Strech
If you’re following the first step (holding your phone at eye level), taking a break will become easier. It’s surprisingly hard to hold your phone at eye level for an extended period, so when you notice your arm starting to get tired, that’s a good indication that it’s time to take a break.
A good rule of thumb is to stretch and check your posture every 10 minutes or so, and stand up and move around every 30 minutes. If you’re watching a standard 30-minute TV program, you may want to stretch every commercial break and get up after the program is done. If you’re watching shorter videos, or reading news articles, you can stretch between each video or article and plan to stretch your legs for each five or six pieces of content you enjoy.
For a list of stretches you can do to prevent text neck, check out this article.
3. Reduce Device Use
OK, we know this one is way easier said than done, but most of us could stand to spend a little less time on our devices. Increasing amounts of research are beginning to show concerning links between our shortening attention spans and increasing anxiety rates and the buzzing, beeping, electronic machines we keep on our person 24 hours a day.
Quite a few apps exist to let you know just how much time your are spending on your mobile device every day. We often don’t realize how much a few minutes here and there add up to many hours over the course of a week. Understanding how you use your mobile devices (both the total length of time use and the nature of that use, such as sending 100 texts at 10 seconds each, or watching two 30-minute shows without a break) can help you figure out the best approach to keeping text neck at bay.
If Text Neck Has Already Struck
Our providers can help you get relief from text neck. We can provide chiropractic adjustments and a wide range of therapy options to help reduce the strain in your neck, back and shoulders and get you back to being pain-free while using your mobile device!