Neck Pain – Are you suffering from Text Neck?
Are you reading this with your elbows on your desk or leaning back in the chair? Your head is tilted forward and your shoulders hunched? If you are working on some of the many mobile devices out there, your arms are bent at the elbows to the side and the hump on your back is even greater.
This position is probably causing you a lot of pain, no matter if you are actually aware of it or not. Luckily, you don’t have to worry much because physical therapists already have a diagnosis of headaches, shoulder pain, and stiff neck as a result of this position. They call this condition – Text Neck.
According to Dr. Dean Fishman, who coined this phrase few years ago while examining a 17-year old patient, text neck doesn’t occur only because of typing text messages, but also as a result of excessive playing of games and writing e-mails. While Dr. Fishman, was talking with the mother of the patient, he noticed that the patient was constantly using her smartphone in an unnatural position and this is how he figured out the cause of the problem.
According to medical science, an average human head weighs about 10 pounds in a neutral position. This is a position when the ears are right above our shoulders. By tilting the head for about 1 inch forward, we actually double the pressure on our spine. In other words, if you are looking at your smartphone or tablet placed on your lap your neck is supporting a weight of between 15 or even 20 pounds. This additional pressure we put on our spine can displace the spine. Dr. Top DiAngelis, the president of the Association of American physiotherapists, is right when he compares this practice with bending two fingers from the hand back and staying in this position for a couple of hours. According to Dr. DiAngelis, in case you are stretching the tissue for a longer period of time, the tissue will become inflamed and you will start feeling pain. However, what is even worse are the consequences you will have to face in the long run.
The first cases of neck pain and problems with the spine and back caused by the use of mobile devices were recorded right after these irreplaceable pieces of technology became popular. Of course, the number of health problems related to these devices has increased in the last couple of years because of the fact that almost every person from the developed countries owns at least one mobile device. This is especially true for the younger generation.
Few studies have shown that children between the age of 8 and 18 spend at least 5 hours a day using some tech gadget or a computer. Of course, adults are at risk too because the number of sales of tablets was tripled in the past three years.
A head that is tilted forward does not only cause pain in the nerves, but it also affects the metabolism. Try to take a deep breath in a position like that and after that sit in a proper way and do the same. You will immediately notice the difference. According to the experts, improper sitting reduces lung capacity by about 30%. This lack of oxygen can affect many systems in our body. So, what can we do in case we simply cannot live without our mobile devices?
First and foremost, always check and be aware of the position of your body. Try to keep your feet straight on the floor, straighten your shoulders back and keep your ears right above them (keep your neck straight in order to achieve that).
Another good advice is to make small breaks every time you use your mobile device for more than 20 minutes.
Source: The Text Neck Institute