In case you hadn’t heard, technology has added a new condition to the annals of the neck and back health – “text neck.”
This condition is provoked by the act of constantly bending your head down to see what’s going on in your indispensable smartphone. Indeed, smartphones can be a pain in the neck.
At Back & Body, we know it’s unpleasant to hear, but your smartphone habit can do permanent damage to your neck. No need to panic, though! I’ve got an answer for everything (about your back, anyhow), so I’m going to give you some simple tips to avoid the dreaded “text neck.”
Smart about Smartphones.
You can’t live without your smartphone. I know. I have one, too. But here’s the thing – incessant smartphone use can lead to permanent harm. So, while your smartphone may be an extension of you, your neck matters, too. Being smart about using your smartphone is an imperative you can’t ignore, no matter how much you rely on your device.
Following are some ground rules for smart use of smartphones:
- Telecommuters rely heavily on the use of smartphones, and they’re the group most prone to hurting their necks due to continual use. That’s why I counsel that you limit your time using yours. Whenever you can, turn to your lap or desktop computer. You’re much more likely to model supportive sitting hygiene.
- Looking up at a screen places much less stress on your neck than looking down. That’s why ergonomic design is so important. Ensure that your workstation is organized to reduce neck strain. Your chair should also be at an appropriate height in relation to your desk.
- OK, so you’re telecommuting, and the smartphone is in play. Hold it up to your face, instead of looking down at it. This is a simple hack that can prevent “text neck.” Remember – your head weighs a lot in relation to your body. Apply this one liberally.
Supporting neck health.
I know you’re not giving up your smartphone anytime soon (me either), so let’s talk about how you can support the ongoing health of your neck with a regular stretching routine.
- Sitting in a relaxed but upright position, pull your chin in toward your chest. Now, slowly pull your head up, while focusing on your chin, until your head is fully extended back. You should be looking at the ceiling when you’re done. Hold for five counts.
- Shoulder rotations in both directions will help with strain and strengthen this part of your body, protecting it against “text neck.” With arms loose at your sides, rotate five times forward and five times back.
- Turn your head slowly to the left and then to the right. Repeat several times, holding for a count of five on each side.
Smartphones can be a pain in the neck, but they don’t have to be. Your neck’s health can be protected by modeling good habits and stretching regularly. Got neck pain? Contact us!