Mobile devices are great. They allow us to stay connected to friends and family and provide us with access to the Internet at any given time (assuming we have connectivity and battery life). As the technology advances and becomes more accessible, mobile devices are becoming the preferred means of choice for Internet access.
And thus brings us to our topic of discussion: neck pain related to various screen usage, or “text neck”. Previously, people would develop neck pain from working at a computer screen at home, for school, or for work. Hence the development of ergonomic chairs and optimizing work station to minimize the risk of developing neck pain. Yet, the population affected by prolonged screen usage is beginning to expand. Perhaps more alarmingly, “text neck” appears to be affecting even younger populations. One client that I have worked with specifically complained about neck pain during reading and using their tablet. Their goal was to be able to use their tablet without pain. This client was also 5 years old.
The main issue with “text neck” that perhaps makes it trickier to manage when compared to “desk neck” is that mobile devices are intended to be hand-held and are almost exclusively used below eye-level. Thus, the natural tendency is to look down not only with the eyes, but with the head and neck. This takes our neck posture out of optimal alignment, and the further that we bend, the more strain that this puts on the neck. Compound this with the amount of time and how frequently we use our mobile devices, it is easy to understand how pain can develop.
Getting rid of mobile devices would be unreasonable, so how do we limit and prevent “text neck”?
- Take frequent breaks: we are intended to move and be active, so take a break, interrupt your head and neck posture and move around.
- Exercises: move your neck in the opposite direction that your phone takes you to strengthen the muscles that are being put on strain.
- Range of motion: move your neck in all directions that is pain-free, or where you feel only a mild stretch.
- Raise your phone: may look awkward, but bringing your phone closer to eye level will extend your head and neck into a more optimal alignment.
Thanks for reading; we hope that we can help out if you are having any pain. If your symptoms do not seem to resolve with these quick tips, then we are always available for a free meet & greet. Contact us today!
By: Chris Dahiroc P.T.