Are you one of those people who have a more intimate relationship with their phone than with their family members, constantly checking email, texts and those cute little GIFs of kittens chasing their tail? If so, you might have text neck syndrome. Some people call this turtle neck, but either way, it occurs because you’re constantly flexing your neck and putting your head in a forward position. That can cause strain on your neck.
Your head is really heavy if your posture is bad.
When your posture is good and your head is erect as it’s supposed to be, it’s not a problem, but just slanting your head a mere 15 degrees forward adds as much as 27 pounds of force onto the neck. Tilt it even further forward to 30 degrees and that force is like 40 pounds added. A 45-degree tilt increases the pressure to 49 pounds and a big tilt, like a 60 degree tilt, often occurring when reading texts, particularly outside in the sun, increases the pressure from the weight of your head to 60 pounds. Just lifting 60 pounds with our arms is tough enough, now picture doing it with your neck. It’s really destructive.
You can imagine how tough it is on the neck muscles holding that much weight, but there are other consequences.
Not only does jutting your head forward cause neck pain, it causes headache, shoulder pain, upper back pain and can even lead to a hunchback appearance. It comes from flattening the thoracic kyphosis. That’s the kyphotic curve in your spine. As you lose that curve, you start to show signs of developing a hunchback. That posture brings other problems, too. It can cause spinal degeneration, disc compression, early signs of arthritis, muscle weakness and a permanent change in lung capacity.
How do you prevent a problem?
The obvious way is to change your habits when it comes to using your phone, but most people simply can’t or won’t limit themselves. The alternative is learning how to improve your posture, especially when checking your phone. Don’t stand for a long time with a bent posture. Constantly being on the phone or checking messages isn’t necessary, especially if you’re not somewhere you can sit and read easily without stretching your neck forward. The lighter the hone the better, particularly if you’re holding only in one hand, change off hands periodically. Keep repetitive movements, like swiping, to a minimum.
- Our program helps develop a healthier posture and can prevent functional changes. Regular exercise can produce results that reduce postural changes that add to the problem.
- Neck exercises can help reduce pain if you’re already experiencing the problem. One example is an exaggerated nod. Another exercise that helps is downward facing dog. There are other stretches that bring relief.
- Make sure friends and family realize that you probably won’t respond immediately, particularly if you’re walking, standing or driving. Set a “Do Not Disturb” on your phone that only allows emergency calls and texts through.
- Take time every hour to get up and stretch. Stretching frequently throughout the day and practicing good posture can help avoid problems later.
For more information, contact us today at the Tensegrity Coach