As a society, we thrive on technology and find it excruciating to live without our smartphones. In fact, according to a Pew Research Center report study, smartphone use is up by 35 percent since 2011, and 85 percent of smartphone users are younger Americans.
Lanman and Dr. Jason Cuellar, authors of The Spine Journal, have found that more patients are getting surgery for neck and upper back pain and disorders. They believe this is due to poor posture when texting. When we use our smartphones we look down, bending our head at 45 degrees, and curving our back and straining our neck in the process. The weight of the head hangs off our neck muscles, bones and ligaments. Therefore, prolonged smartphone use can lead to irreparable damage, especially for the younger generation who is addicted to technology, smartphone and iPads.
What can we do to avoid ‘text neck’? Experts suggest you to:
1. Take a break. Yes, you love your smartphone, but taking a few hours a day to unplug will give your neck a rest. Spend time with family and friends instead, or if you must, get on social media via your desktop. Just be sure to use a Sit Stand Desk to avoid straining your neck and back while perusing the net.
2. Use voice dictation to send text messages. Most of our smartphones allow us to speak our thoughts and dictate them via text, email and voice note. Using voice dictation to send text messages eliminates the need to look down when constantly texting.
3. Stretch your neck. A good stretch a few times a day alleviates neck pain and can prevent text neck. Check out some great neck stretches here.
4. Use a table stand to place your phone when texting. Keeping your phone at eye level prevents us from constantly looking down and, in turn, text neck. This is a great one.
5. Use your phone while laying back in bed or the couch. Take a load off and text while in bed. Just don’t lay on your stomach as you’ll have to look down!
Take the advice from the experts and try some of these techniques to ease ‘text neck.” Our smartphones aren’t going anywhere, but your pain in the neck can.