We have a guest blog today from BackerNation!
Flashback to 1999. You get home from school, run to your bedroom while throwing your book bag down as you put on your comfy clothes and sit on your neatly made bed — thanks, Mom. Back then, having your own line, in your own room was the cool thing to have — along with instant messenger and maybe MySpace (who was your top eight?). You had to wait for your best friends to get home in order to three-way call and talk about how your crush winked at you as you got onto the bus.
Photo via VisualHunt
Flash forward to 2017. Everything is at the tip our fingertips (literally). We’ve replaced land lines with cell phones and phone calls with texting. We can order anything for next day delivery, Facebook Live or SnapChat fun times and call anyone, anywhere, anytime.
The convenience factor of today’s technology is INSANE — and by insane, we mean insanely good. However, whenever someone says that something is too good to be true, chances are it is.
We all love keeping in touch with our inner circle, but what happens when a quick text turns into hours and hours of glaring at your smartphone?
The term “text neck” got its name from pain caused from sitting with your head dropped forward, looking at your devices for several hours at a time. In Hope Ricciotti and Monique Doyle Spencer’s 2010 book, The Real Life Body Book: A Young Woman’s Complete Guide to Health and Wellness, Ricciotti and Spencer said, “It’s not just computer use that puts strain on your neck. There’s also PDA pain, iPod injury, cell phone soreness, and Blackberry bruises. Bending over a tiny screen with shoulders hunched, fingers and thumbs flying, is not good for your neck or posture. We call this ‘tech neck.’”
Here’s a crazy fact that you don’t need to watch Jerry Magjuire to learn: The average human head is 12 pounds. Bent forward, the weight on your cervical is increased as stress and pressure on your neck. Looking down at your smartphone, chin to chest, can put about 60 pounds of force on your neck and spine.
The challenge isn’t just in helping adults, who are wrought with neck and shoulder pain from device overuse, but children and teens — who average up to three hours per day staring at phones — who are now in need of corrective medical attention.
Dr. Robert Bolash, a pain specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, said, “Instead of a normal forward curve, patients can be seen to have a backwards curve. It can be degenerative, often causing head, neck, shoulder and back pain. Many patients come in complaining they have a headache, but we actually find ‘text neck’ is the cause of it. They often fail a simple heel-to-toe test and tend to fall over.”
To combat the potential damage caused by tech neck, Bolash recommends:
- Straightening up. Learn proper posture and neck alignment by checking yourself out in a mirror. If you’re standing correctly, you should be able to draw a vertical line from your ear to your shoulder.
- Arching your back. If your posture isn’t perfect, try doing shoulder extensions. Arch your neck and upper back backward, pulling your shoulders into alignment under your ears. This simple stretch can alleviate stress and muscle pain.
- Looking forward. Rather than tilting your chin down to read your mobile device, raise the device to eye level. The same goes for your desktop computer. Your monitor screen should be at eye level so your head isn’t perpetually dropping and causing muscle strain.
“A topical pain reliever may help soothe a strained tendon. But, ideally, you should limit how much you’re texting. Composing a manuscript with your thumbs, on a screen that’s a couple of inches wide, isn’t what mobile devices were made for,” concluded Bolash.
Text neck pain can become a permanent condition that can affect all areas of your life. But you’re already on your phone reading this; you can download an app to get you on the road to posture awareness. “Text Neck,” an app available in the Google Play Store, gives you feedback using red and green lights through your phone to indicate whether or not you are using your phone with correct posture. It may not solve the problem, but it will keep you aware and encourage you to stretch or straighten up.
If nothing else, be sure to take breaks in between cell phone time and stay active. Remaining physically mobile (pun intended) will help reduce your chance of text neck, which can lead to other back and spine conditions. They don’t call it “the new arthritis” for nothing.
So, whether it’s 1999 or 2017, live, create and encourage others to avoid text neck by being perfectly ambitious. You got this, people.
Contributed by the team at BackerNation.com. Check out their website and social media listed below.
Macey Bernstein is a content specialist with a passion for crafting useful and actionable content that improves the lives of her audience. She is a dedicated reporter with a nose for news, a love for community, and a reputation for impeccable ethics. From writing press releases and legal briefs to event planning and execution, she displays exceptional skill in journalism and creative direction. Macey is a graduate of the West Virginia University School of Journalism with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations.
Chris Jones is an editorial and public relations consultant for small businesses and individual brands. He helps businesses and brands to attract customers using a combination of strategic content development and implementation, press and media outreach, and building and nurturing strategic relationships. An award-winning journalist, editor, and designer, Chris has been in the media and marketing industry for 18 years where he’s interviewed high-profile influencers, celebrities, and New York Times-bestselling authors.