Text neck, a.k.a. tech neck, is a condition that develops from spending too much time looking down at your cell phone, tablet or any other handheld device. Using your neck muscles to look down causes forward head posture, slouched back, and hunched or rounded shoulders that leads to chronic neck pain. Does this happen to you? Don’t freak out, here’s how to fix text neck without having to say goodbye to your cell phone.
The first step to reverse text next is to adjust how you hold your phone. Holding your phone too low causes poor posture that leads to tech neck.. Bring your phone or other devices up to eye level. This may feel awkward at first, but you’ll get used to it over time. Your eyes should be looking straight ahead and head in a neutral position. By holding your phone up a little higher this will cause your head and shoulders to straighten out.
For every degree angle that you lower your head position to look at your phone, you are increasing the amount of weight that is placed on your neck and shoulders. The average head weighs about 10 pounds, when you lean your head forward by 45 degrees you increase the weight placed on your neck to 50 pounds. So raise up that phone and keep your head straight!
Did you know there are apps that can detect your head angle while using your phone and alert you when you are slouching? These apps work by sensing the angle of your phone which will indicate what position your head is in. When it senses that your phone is in a position that could cause text neck it will send a notification to straighten up.
A posture brace is a simple addition to keep your upper back straight and to reduce back pain. They work by pulling your shoulders back to correct bad posture habits. The brace will correct slouched shoulders, reduce tension in the back and neck, and help you maintain good posture. These braces can be worn over or under clothes and are fully adjustable. Try one out if you need that constant good posture reminder.
One of the best ways to combat text neck is to stretch your upper back, shoulder and neck muscles. Neck stretches will loosen your stiff neck and reduce muscle tension. After stretching, try a shoulder and neck relaxer which supports your cervical spine and head. This device can give you some pain relief and promote relaxation. Yoga is another great way to stretch, strengthen, and improve your overall health.
Neck exercises can help you correct muscle imbalances. Over time, slouching and leaning forward to look at your phone causes your core, neck, and upper back muscles to weaken. This makes it more difficult to maintain proper posture. Incorporating exercises into your daily routine to strengthen these muscles will fight your bad habits, improve your body’s ability to handle stress, and lead to a healthier body.
If you are suffering from neck and shoulder pain caused by texting and poor posture try using cold and hot therapy. Cold from an ice pack will numb the pain and reduce any swelling. When the pain of text neck begins use ice first and for 20 minutes at a time. After a couple of days switch to heat. A heating pad or a warm towel wrapped around your neck will soothe sore muscles and stiffness. To prevent skin injury, never sleep with an ice pack or heating pad.
A neck and shoulder massage is another great way to soothe sore muscles caused by text neck. Massage releases tension and stiffness that is built up over time. If you have developed pain from muscle tension you may need a deep tissue massage that focuses on releasing trigger points, also known as muscle knots. Some people find it helpful to see a massage therapist, as they can press harder into your muscle and reach those tough to get areas.
Set a limit on your phone time and take frequent breaks. This will help you realize how much time you actually spend looking at your phone. Many cell phones have settings where you can set timers to help you stay on track with your goals. Think of how much more you will be able to do in a day (and reduce your neck pain) if you just cut back your screen time by one hour!
Text neck is a condition that just about anyone with a cell phone or mobile device can develop. Looking down at your screen will cause your shoulders to slouch and your head to push forward. There are a few easy ways to help correct your posture by raising your phone, stretching, and wearing a brace. If you continue to have a hard time correcting your posture or are in pain reach out to your local physical therapist. A physical therapy session can guide you with more strategies to correct your text neck.
Sources:Text Neck Products
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