June 28th, 2017

Text Neck – Is Your Phone Killing Your Back?

Is your phone killing your back?

Millions of people do it throughout the day and are totally unaware that phone use can be detrimental to your posture. Did you know that phone use can double or triple the weight of your head and can strain your neck? If you are reading this article on a phone or tablet, you are probably doing it right now: Tilting your head forward and down in order to look at your device.

Phones and tablets are changing the way we access information and entertainment. The use of these devices influences our posture and body mechanics in unhealthy ways that contribute to neck, upper back, shoulder, and arm pain. Furthermore, poor posture while sitting, standing, walking, or in a static position can lead to more than upper body pain and stiffness—poor posture affects other parts of the spine, such as the middle and low back.

Do you know how much does a human head weigh?

Typically, an adult human head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds. As the head tilts or angles forward, the cervical spine’s (neck) muscles, tendons, and ligaments support the head during movement and when static; such as holding the head in a forward tilted position. Even the neck’s intervertebral discs are involved and help absorb and distribute the forces exerted on the neck.

What are the symptoms associated with text neck?

  1. 1. Text neck most commonly causes neck pain and soreness. In addition, looking down at your cell         phone too much each day can lead to:
  2. 2. Upper back pain ranging from a chronic, nagging pain to sharp, severe upper back muscle spasm.
  3. 3. Shoulder pain and tightness, possibly resulting in painful shoulder muscle spasm.
  4. 4. If a cervical nerve becomes pinched, pain and possibly neurological symptoms can radiate down your arm and into your hand.

How much heavier is the human head when tilted forward?

Strain on your neck rises as the forward angle of your head increases. At 15 degrees of forward tilt may equate to a head weighing 27 pounds. At 30 degrees forward, the strain on the neck equals a 40pound head. The greater the angle, the greater the strain: 45 degrees forward equals 49 pounds of strain, and 60 degrees forward equals 60 pounds.

Now consider the fact that the average person is holding his or her head forward to look at a phone or read a tablet for 2 to 4 hours a day, according Teenagers spend even more time each day looking down at their devices, he added. As you tilt your head, you also move your shoulders forward into a rounded position, which is another aspect of poor posture. All this excess strain creates extra wear and tear on the structures of the neck, upper spine and back, and contributes to/can lead to spinal degeneration that may require surgery.

First Positive Step to Posture Awareness and Alignment

Making good posture a habit can help prevent neck or back pain from developing, along with related posture and biomechanical problems. Good posture means that your head is upright, your ears are in line with your shoulders, and your shoulder blades are down and retracted.

Development of proper alignment, spinal stress is diminished. It is the most efficient position for the spine. Researchers have proven good posture is not only good for the health of your spine; it is good for your over-all health and mood as well have found that standing straight elevates testosterone and serotonin levels and decreases cortisol levels, hormones that affect your mood.

However, modern life still requires you to check your phone or use your tablet many times a day. How do you do that and safeguard your neck?

At the Posture Doctor, we recommend you consider simple tips;

1.     Don’t use your phone or your tablet for extended computer work. Use your desktop or laptop computer for extended work and make sure these devices are arranged ergonomically.

2.     When you use a cell phone, instead of bending your head to look down at it, raise your phone.

3.     When you are reading the screen, bring the phone up level or just a little below your face.

4.     Take frequent breaks from your phone and laptop throughout the day. For example, set a timer or alarm that reminds you to get up and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes.

Neck pain is often not a serious condition, and with the right care, it is often treated in a matter of days. Whether you opt for chiropractic care or alternative forms of treatments, it is advisable always to go for chiropractors and doctors who are experienced in treating neck pain to ensure that no further damage is done to the neck due to ill advice from a novice. The home remedies should be seen as a short-term solution and should not be done for days especially if the symptoms keep on getting worse day in day out.

Choose a Posture Plan for Treat Text Neck

At the Posture Doctor, we care about your total health.  We partner with you to create a Posture Plan that will allow you to live your lifestyle for as long as possible.  Give us a call today on 028 867 61861 to book a plan in Belfast or Cookstown.