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Text Neck: What is it and how to avoid it?

Text Neck

Our modern digital age has brought us many conveniences. Android, BlackBerry devices, iPhones, tablets and e-readers allow us to communicate and be entertained with the push of a button. Many of us spend hours each day looking down at these types of devices and this can cause a real pain in the neck.

You may not realise, but when you are using your smartphone for texting, emailing or surfing you tend to lean forwards into a position that can cause or aggravate neck, shoulder and back problems. You will be straining your muscles in those areas to accommodate this "smartphone" position. This condition even has its own name now: Text Neck.

Did you know that the average weight of a head is 10 lbs (4.5 kgs) and for every inch of forward head posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds!

Here are some simple ways to help prevent text neck strain:

Hold your phone up

Hold your phone up when you text or play games, instead of looking down. Position it at a proper reading angle, directly in front of your mouth at a comfortable viewing distance, a few inches across from your chin. This allows you to avoid strain because you can look at the screen by gazing down with your eyes rather than bending your neck. Your shoulders should also feel relaxed when you’re interacting with the screen. If they’re not, adjust your position.

Dictate

Dictate. If your phone’s texting app has a dictation program like Siri, use it again, holding the phone in front of your mouth.

Taking frequent breaks

Taking frequent breaks and looking up from your device can provide your neck with some relief from the pressure of looking down.

Be sure to stretch and vary your movement.

Be sure to stretch and vary your movement. When you take time to exercise something other than your texting thumbs, focus on movements that strengthen your neck, shoulders and upper back such as rolling your shoulders backwards or looking left to right whilst remaining seated.

Think About Your Posture

With an ever-increasing number of mobile devices out there, the problem isn't likely to go away by itself. So next time you feel yourself cramping over your smart phone take a moment to think about your posture, it may just save you a pain in the neck in the future!