Quick Ways to Fix ‘Text Neck’

Photo Credit:  Dr. Hansraj MD & Washington Post

The weight of ‘text neck’

According to a recent study by Dr. Kenneth Hansraj in the National Library of Medicine, we can spend 2 to 4 hours every day looking at our cell phones, emailing, texting and checking social media sites. (High schoolers can spend as many as 13 hours per day according to the study!) The head weighs 10-12 lbs, and every inch it’s held forward exaggerates the weight put on the cervical spine, with severe forward head posture loading the neck with up to 60 lbs. Imagine an eight year old sitting on your neck several hours a day!

Any change in posture while looking at our phones multiplied over 700 to 1,400 hours per year (and up to 5,000 hours for teens!) can make a huge difference in the likelihood of experiencing neck pain, headaches and more. Each of those hours strains the neck by stretching and loading the tissues, making the neck tight, sore, and inflamed. Over time, this poor posture can lead to early wear-and-tear on the spine, degeneration, and even surgery.

The neck isn’t the only area at risk. Poor neck posture can have a ripple effect of stress and strain elsewhere in the body, like the shoulders, low back, and pelvis.

WHAT TO DO??
To restore your natural posture and stop or prevent neck pain, especially if removing technology from your life isn’t an option, here are two simple tips we recommend:

Tip 1: Move your phone up to meet your eyes.
Rather than move your neck forward and head down to look at your phone, bring the phone up to eye level, so you can maintain an aligned, tall posture. Try it now, reading this!

Tip 2: Reverse your posture throughout the day.
Here are three easy ways:
Simply push your shoulders back and down and gently tuck your chin back to bring your ears over your shoulders. Try holding it for 10 seconds. Repeat often throughout the day.
Stand up and move hourly!
Stand in a doorway with your arms extended and push your chest forward to open up the chest and shoulder muscles that can tighten from slouching.
Most importantly, just be cognizant of how you’re holding your head, and stand tall!

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