“Smart Phone Neck” or “Text Neck” is the term used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your mobile phone, ipad, pc or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long.
Smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours per day hunched over, reading emails, checking social media sites and sending texts according to research.
Texting or browsing has become a way of life for young and old and it can become a pain in the neck – literally!
The average human head weighs between 10 to 12 pounds. If you are looking forward and standing with good posture, this is the weight your neck is supporting. As soon as you start to bend your head down, your head actually is putting more strain and weight on your spine. The head at 15 degrees forward bend causes 27 pounds of strain, at 30 degrees it`s 40 pounds of strain on the neck. Also, the muscles that connect at the back of the head and shoulders are really working hard to hold that weight up. Not only is your spine working extremely hard but you could also be causing ache and pain to your neck and shoulders. This can also lead to muscle strain, pinched nerves, herniated discs and can damage the neck`s natural curvature. Of course, this posture of bending your neck to look down does not occur only when using your mobile phone. We have always looked down to read. The problem with texting or browsing is that it adds one more activity that causes us to look down- and people tend to do it for much longer periods.
Common Symptoms of SmartPhone Neck
- Pain in the Neck
- Pain radiating to one side of your neck, shoulder blade or arm
- Numbness or Tingling in arm, hand or fingers
- Weakness in your neck, arm or hand
- Stiffness in your neck or difficulty lifting your head up after looking down for long periods of time
Prevention and Treatment
Thankfully, there are some ways you can prevent or manage SmartPhone Neck. It is important to focus on your posture while you are using your mobile phone or other devices for that matter. Try to move your eyes downwards to the screen instead of moving your entire head. In general, be it with a wireless device or anything else for that matter, make it a point to keep your head level as much as possible and aligned with your spine.
Hold the phone out in front of you so your phone hand or arm is`nt down by your stomach while standing or sitting. This posture reduces the pressure on your neck and spine.
Limit your time on your phone to a few minutes. It helps to take frequent breaks and attention away from your devices as much as you can during the course of your day. If it is`nt absolutely necessary to use them, even better.
Intermittent stretches to your neck and shoulders alleviate tension and stress build up. A Chartered Physiotherapist will be able to instruct you on effective stretches for your muscles and nerves as well as showing you how to correct your posture whether it be in general, with a mobile phone or sitting at your desk working on a PC.
Alternatively, Manual Therapy Techniques to the spinal segments, Dry Kneedling, Deep Tissue Massage and Laser Therapy can be used to treat your symptoms.
For more information and advice, you can contact us at our clinic.