Not heard of it? You probably will do in the future, it’s a term used to describe a technology affected body due to poor posture, and it’s now a syndrome all in itself.
So what is text neck?
I’d like to say it’s an educational game you play where you get points and prizes, unfortunately its not it’s a pain in the neck!
Most of what we do these days is mobile via the iPad/tablet or phone, the old desktop is getting used less and less, and we usually find the laptop that little bit too cumbersome to use while lounging around, playing games or searching the internet with one eye on the TV.
Does this look familiar?
You may have not linked these two together and possibly not thought about it, but like anything we do there are consequences, you can brush off little aches and shoulder tension, but pain affects our life more than we realize.
Using mobile technology does affect the while body, now there is a term specifically for the neck pain call “text neck” as it is the position typically taken for using our mobile device. Try it for yourself send a text, noting the posture you adopt and head position, then take a deep breath and notice how when hunched over your breathing is affected, this poor posture can restrict your normal lung function by up to 30%.
Not good is it! This posture can lead to pain, headaches and shoulder tension and many other ailments affected by posture and movement. In fact the list is a lot longer, with prominent professionals in this field such as Dr Kenneth Hansraj, who is an authority on this condition and the Chief of Spine Surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine Centre, expresses strong concerns over this epidemic, and within his own clinic has witnessed a marked increased in the number of patients who present to his clinics with this wide spectrum of symptoms. He states that ultimately “when you have such aggressive stressors on the neck, you get wear and tear on the spine, in some cases this “can develop into tears within the disc, or you can even get a slipped or herniated disc.”
In an interview on CNN last year Tom Di Angelis, president of the American Physical Therapy Association‘s Private Practice Section said the effect of text neck is similar to bending a finger all the way back and holding it there for about an hour or so.
How long do you spend looking down?
Ofcom the UK’s communications regulator says;
Smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online, Ofcom research has revealed, with record ownership and use transforming the way we communicate.
Smartphones overtake laptops as UK internet users’ number one device.
We’re spending two hours online on our smart phones every day; twice as long as laptops and PCs.
Superfast 4G is helping change the way we shop, bank, watch TV and communicate.
Two thirds of people now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online.
Check out the info graphic from Ofcom
If you think of the time you spend on the phone, tablet/iPad what does it mean for children who are really going for it, the dilemma whether to let your child have a mobile phone strongly argued by many. I know personally my oldest son gets homework which he carries out on a tablet device, and when together with friends and cousins the tablets come out. He plays Scrabble, Chess and Draughts via an app! He’s even beaten me at Draughts on the iPad. It is estimated that you can add a further 5,000 hours to that total for teenagers.
Its all too easy this posture
Its sounds quite heavy this lot, so how heavy is it?
Let’s work it out, the average head weighs about 5.4 Kg/12LB, however when leaning forward the pressure increases, a bit like holding a bag of sugar close to your chest , then holding it at arm’s length out in front, suddenly the effect increases quite dramatically.
Here are a few figures for you to make sense of it.
So let’s think about this, that last position has the same effect of carrying a child around on your neck, 27Kg/60LB. Having carried my kids on my shoulders on many occasion I can still feel the burn of those actions.
So what do we do about it?
Have you heard the phrase “it’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it” you would have done so If you have had treatment from me, if basically means change is needed. Mobile technology is here to stay and it makes our life easier and for many entertaining, so, until we start talking to holograms we are stuck with it. Therefore we need to modify our posture and limit the load; here are some actions to take;
1) Minimize the tilt of your head and neck movement forward.
2) Use your eyes to look down.
3) Adopt a good posture for the whole body.
Here’s a few tips to help you sit better
- Don’t slump or lean (left, right or forward) in your seat and don’t tuck them under neath.
- Be conscious of your posture as you are sitting and make sure your back/neck are straight.
- Use a proper lumbar support.
- Make sure your feet are in proper position – flat on floor.
- Move occasionally; remember to stand up and try to move or walk around once an hour.
- Set a timer on your phone to remind yourself to get up.
- When you do get up stretch a little to stretch, have a routine planned.
- Do be active and try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
These are simple tips to help, however to make a real difference in addition to these look to improve your overall strength and flexibility performing regular exercise for the neck and whole body, thereby improving overall mobility, flexibility and strength and in doing so the body can handle your lifestyle, habits are easier to work on when the body is able. This is a vital note as often when someone attends the clinic in pain, we need to reduce the pain by reducing tension on the tissue causing symptoms, then improve movement, flexibility, strength followed by correction of postural influences at rest and work. This is a lot for you and your body to handle being particularly difficult for anyone in pain.
Consider the information and try to manage as best you can, you know where we are if you need us.
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