We currently live in a technological society where information reaches us at all times via mobile phones, computers, or tablets. Whether it’s to answer emails or send texts, we are rarely far from our mobile phones. In fact, we spend about 2 to 4 hours a day on our cell phones. Unfortunately, this modern convenience prejudices our posture and can have long-term effects on our spine. This epidemic, called “text neck syndrome,” is more serious than you think.
Understanding Text Neck Syndrome
Text neck syndrome describes the posture we adopt when looking at our phones for a long time. Our neck is tilted forward, our shoulders are rolled and slumped, and our heads are lowered and projected in front of our shoulders, which is called forward head posture. To have a correct posture, our heads should be aligned with our shoulders, and the shoulders should be back.
Our head, well aligned with the body, weighs about 5 to 7 kg, but as we bend our neck forward, the stress on the shoulder muscles, eyes, and cervical spine increases exponentially, which can even straighten or reverse the normal curvature of the cervical spine. The more we bend our neck forward, the greater the load on the cervical spine. For example: with a 60-degree angle of neck flexion, the pressure on the cervical spine will be 60 lb (27 kg).
Other problems can arise from adopting this posture: headaches, neck stiffness, disc protrusions and hernias, tingling and numbness in the upper limbs, pain between the shoulder blades, in the shoulders, wrists, neck stiffness, and even early arthritis.
How to Avoid Text Neck Syndrome?
Hold the phone at eye level.
Do not adopt a position where the head is tilted forward.
Move your eyes, not your whole head. If you can’t hold the phone at eye level, it doesn’t mean you have to bend your neck. Keep your head in the right position and look with your eyes.
Do not put your phone between your ear and your shoulder.
Try to keep your back as straight as possible and have support for your elbows.
Take frequent breaks to avoid staying in the same position for an extended period.
Perform exercises and stretches that specifically target the neck, chest, and upper back.
A physiotherapist can help you with a specific and personalized exercise program for each problem presented.
Although it may be easier said than done, it is important to turn off the mobile phone from time to time. Maybe a text message is forgotten, but the benefit to your health and well-being will be worth it in the long run.
For more information, come see us in physiotherapy.