he new phenomenon known as the “text neck” is the result of our growing dependence on technology, and is specifically connected to how much we use our phones on a daily basis.
What is ‘Text Neck’?
Dr. Dean Fishman found a use to start a “text neck” website with information about prevention and treatment after many patients, specifically teens, were seeking chiropractic care after suffering from neck and back pain. Dr. Fishman found that many of these problems were due to prolonged periods of tilting your head downward to text or use a phone, a position which we are all very familiar with. This posture causes excessive strain on the cervical spine leading to premature spinal degeneration.
The average human head weighs about 10 to 12 lbs. When we are standing in a neutral position, our ears should be over our shoulders with our shoulder blades pulled back – a strong and straight posture. However as you begin to tilt your head forward, as you do when you are using your phone, the gravitational pull on your head becomes heavier, and puts a heavier amount of weight on the front disks of your neck. This “text neck” posture can ultimately lead to pinched nerves, arthritis, bone spurs and muscular deformations. I bet this is more serious than you thought whenever you send a quick text.
How Poor Posture Affects You
It is estimated that people spend an average of 2 to 4 hours a day with their heads tilted at an abnormal angle while using their phones. This adds up to an average over 1000 hours a year, which explains the disruption in your natural posture. Proper posture optimizes your health, reduces stress and leads to better emotional and physical health. However, the side effects of poor posture weigh heavy as well. Poor posture in linked to headaches, depression, heart disease and chronic pain.
Should You Get Rid of Your Phone?
So what can you do? I do not expect you to toss your phone. The important take away is that you are mindful of your phone posture. When you use your phone try to keep your head up and raise it to meet your line of sight. Also, incorporating exercises and stretches to strengthen your neck, back and shoulders will help prevent spinal degeneration.
In addition, you should also know that similar to tennis elbow, text neck is not exclusive to people who compulsively text. Other daily activities that can cause strain on your neck include washing dishes, reading a book or even wearing a heavy helmet. If you have any questions or would like suggestions on how to improve your posture, please do not hesitate to ask our doctors or rehabilitation technicians.