Holistic and Sports Massage therapist, William, talks text neck.
Have you ever found yourself scrolling through your phone aimlessly in an act of procrastination?
If you’re anything like me then I’m sure you have. The average person spends over 24 hours a week on the internet. This amount of time online has doubled in the past 10 years and stats are increasing!
And why wouldn’t they?
The rise of Facebook, Instagram and twitter has had us glued to our phones. Even if you’re not a social media junkie, there are no escaping emails and phone calls. All of this leads us ‘looking down’ as a society where instead we should be looking up.
Mobile phone usage has a massive effect on our health. As a society we are learning more about how technology can affect our mental health, but one thing we forget to factor is how this can affect our physical health, particularly our necks.
The human head weighs around 11 pounds in a neutral position; however when we are looking down our head can weigh up to 60 pounds. That equals roughly 60 pints of water… Or 600 golf balls!
Doesn’t that put things into perspective?
Looking down for long periods of time can cause tremendous strain on the neck; this is known as “text neck”.
Text neck compresses and tightens the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the front of the neck while lengthening these structures behind the neck.This often or not affect muscles such as the Sternocleidomastoid and the scalenes which are involved with flexing the neck. This in time can also lead to the following:
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Muscle soreness
- Nerve impingement
- Spasms in the upper back
- Spine degeneration
- Disc herniation
Text neck can easily be prevented with these four steps:
- Take regular breaks from your phone. Turn it off, leave it in another room or even throw it out the window.
- Be conscious of your posture when using a mobile phone. Try to use your phone at eye level and to make sure your earlobes are in line with your shoulders.
- Regular massage, such as sports or remedial massage. This can help relax the muscles that support your cervical spine to prevent any further injury.
- Stretch your neck and shoulders daily to avoid any build up of tension. Here are some stretches that may help you:
Forward flexion & extension stretch; Stand upright with your shoulders relaxed and lean your head towards your chest. Hold for a few seconds and then raise your chin to the ceiling allowing the base of your skull to meet your shoulders. Repeat.
Diagonal Flexion stretch; In the same relaxed position let your chin fall to your chest, then lean your head to the one side. Breathe, and then repeat on the other side.
Lateral neck stretch; Keep your head upright, facing forwards with your arms behind your back. Allow your ear to fall towards your shoulder. Breathe and then repeat on the other side.
Rotating neck stretch; Stand upright with your shoulders relaxed and then turn your head to face the left. Breathe and then repeat on the other side.
These simple stretches may only take 5 mins a day and make a great difference to your posture.
Modern technology has greatly improved the functioning of our lives and I urge you not to purge all of your electronics after reading this. But be aware of your posture when using mobile devices.
You can also get symptoms of text neck from too much reading, cooking, or looking down to speak to your children!
Remember, your neck is quite literally “on the line”.
Feeling the tension? Book in to see one of our great therapists today, use this link to book online >