Let’s talk about text neck. It might sound silly, but it has become a real thing in our culture of smart phones, iPads, and laptop computers. People spend countless hours a day looking down or hunch forward working, communicating with friends and family, learning, searching, online dating, and the list goes on.
Over time, our posture becomes our structure which can cause a straightening of the cervical spine (the neck) or even a reverse curve. A healthy cervical curve resembles a backwards “C” shape, for every inch of forward head posture (i.e. when you’re looking down at your phone) the weight of the head on the spine increases by 10 pounds.
This forward neck posture can lead to all sorts of issues including muscle pain/strain, disc herniations, arthritis, headaches, jaw tension, numbness, tingling, difficulty sleeping and a myriad of other problems. This forward neck force can also alter the shape of the thoracic (upper back) and lumbar (lower back) curves leading to another bag of issues. Since most of this poor posture is unintentional and with good cause, how do we continue to utilize modern technology without hurting our bodies???
I’ll share some things that have worked for me personally because “text neck” has been a huge “pain in the neck” for me since becoming more active on social media a few years ago.
1. If you use a laptop computer, stack it on books, use a shorter chair, or a high counter top so the computer is at eye level.
2. For the ladies and gentlemen who carry a bag or backpack, if you’re sitting while you use you typing into your phone, place your bag on your lap and prop your elbows on your bag so your device is closer to eye level.
3. Slide your butt to the back of your seat, especially when sitting on a couch, sit up tall and lift your phone to eye level. You’ll get a little deltoid workout in the process... BONUS!
4. If you’re in the comfort of your own home, lie down flat and lift the phone above you at the level of your eyes.
5. Use voice text and bring the phone up to your mouth to talk into it.
The most important thing you can do is to be aware of your posture. Take a few moments each day to assess your posture while you are texting, on social media, reading on your kindle, etc., if your head/neck doesn’t feel like it’s close to the ideal posture in the image shown here, make an adjustment.
In a future post, I’ll list some MELT Method moves to release stuck stress in the neck and upper body. Here are some exercises compliments of Self Magazine that can be done to combat the effects of “Text Neck.”
In today’s smart phone culture, this is a serious issue which can be avoided with a little awareness and attention. Focus on maintaining good posture from the moment you pick up your phone, iPad or computer and your body will thank you for years to come.