Text Neck - It's More Than A Bad Habit
Smartphone addiction has become an epidemic, and to most it isn’t a surprise. It’s the first thing we reach for in the morning and the last thing we see before we fall asleep. Research conducted by Harvard professor, Leslie Perlow, suggests that young adults in the U.S. spend 4.5 hours a day on their smartphones. Within the millennial generation, 63% of women and 73% of men say they check their phone at least once an hour. It is easy see why. All the glitzy apps, fun games, and social media platforms offer endless entertainment. You don’t want to feel like you’re missing out if you take a day off from your smartphone. Given the speed information travels in the digital age, it is a feeling that is hard to avoid.
The unfortunate truth is that overusing smartphones is bad for your health. The neck takes the brunt of the damage. The posture typically used when texting puts unwanted pressure on the spine. In its normal position, the human head weighs on average 11 pounds, but when you bend your head to look at a phone screen, the head’s weight on the neck quadruples. This is a lot more weight than the neck is intended to hold up. Over time, this leads to significant strain on the joints and muscles in your upper back.
Spending too much time on a smartphone or other handheld device leads to what is commonly referred to as “text neck”. You know the sensation; that gnawing tightness in your neck that comes about when you spend too much time looking down at a screen This is something almost everyone has experienced in their life. Can you really avoid it? Many of us use our phones for work. Others are so glued to their phones, they can’t imagine their life without one.
Giving up your phone is not a plausible solution because the ease of communication texting and Facebook have facilitated has become such an integral part of our culture. But there are several steps that you can take to help improve your posture and reduce the effects of text neck. While it is almost impossible nowadays to avoid using a cell phone, you want to avoid using it for more than thirty minutes in one sitting. If you have to use your cellphone for an extended period of time, take short breaks. When you are staring at a handheld device, try positioning your head so it is in an upright position.Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to start and end each day with some stretches and exercise that will strengthen your neck muscles and improve your long-term posture. Find a corner with bare wall space. Stand two feet away from the wall. Position your feet so they touch, place your forearms on the wall so that your elbows are just below the height of your shoulders, and lean in as far as you can without it hurting. Stretch for about a minute. This is more effective stretch than the common neck circle and will do more to improve your posture. This stretch will slacken your postural muscles, which will make exercising the muscles easier. This stretch will slacken your postural muscles, which will make exercising the muscles easier. Once you finish stretching, perform a strengthening exercise. A good one to try is the chin tuck. Position your spine so that it is vertical against a door jamb. With your chin down, slide your upper spine and the back of your head up until your head touches the door jamb. Hold the head against the door jamb for about five second. Repeat ten times. This exercise will strengthen the muscles in your neck and improve your
posture over time.
For those experiencing pain related to text neck, topical CBD products may provide temporary relief.