If you own a phone- which is more than likely the case considering 96% of Americans do, you might be at risk for a condition informally called “Text Neck.”
Text neck refers to the result of angling your head down or hunching over for a period of time. Although this condition is more prevalent now, it is not necessarily a new thing. The term Text Neck is due to the amount of mobile devices within our culture that heavily contribute to the condition. However, sewing, drawing, and many more activities can contribute to this as well.
How does our head movement have an impact on our neck and back health you might ask? A human head weighs about 10 pounds. When your head is in a neutral position, there is not much pressure on your spine. However, the more your neck is bent forward, the more strain and pressure is put your cervical spine.
“The mechanics of the cervical and lumbar spine are not conducive to the way people hold cell phones,” says Dr. James St Louis with Physician Partners of America’s Tampa- Habana location, “they can eventually cause mechanical problems since people spend so much time on their phones.”
This pressure on your spine can not only lead to an achy back and neck, but has also been linked to headaches, neurological issues, depression, and heart disease. In more serious cases, Text Neck can lead to herniated disks, pinched nerves, and eventually improper curvature of the spine.
The most common symptom of Text Neck is neck soreness. However, looking down at your phone could potentially also lead to the following:
- Shoulder pain and tightness
- Pinched cervical nerve eventually leading to cervical radiculopathy.
- Upper back pain including muscle spasms, sharp pain, and chronic pain.
- Early onset arthritis of the neck
So what can you do to minimize the future pain your cell phone might be causing you?
- Move your muscles! Reset your upper back and neck muscles but rolling your shoulders and tilting your head. It will provide your muscles and spine a much needed break. Click here for some at-home stretches.
- Hold your device at eye level. Holding your device higher helps your neck to not bend as much, therefore, reducing strain on your cervical spine.
If you are experiencing neck or back pain, contact Physician Partners of America today and schedule a same day appointment.