First it was ‘texter’s thumb’. Now gadget addicts are frequently coming down with ‘text neck’ and other related conditions.
Back and neck specialists say that increasing numbers of patients are suffering neck pain from spending too much time hunched over phones and computers. They claim the rise of smartphones and tablet computers has fuelled the problem.
The extra capability for playing games and browsing the Internet on smartphones means they tend to be used for longer periods. And unlike laptops, tablet computers are often placed flat on the lap, meaning users crane their neck over to view the screen.
The average human head weighs between 10lb and 12lb and flexing the neck at an angle makes it harder to support, raising the odds of pain and stiffness which can radiate down the shoulders, arms and wrists. Headaches and even arthritis can develop.
Mark Jones, from Well Adjusted Health comments: ‘Imagine sitting on your ankle sideways for 10 minutes. It would feel stiff and sore when you returned it to its natural position. That is what people are doing with their necks.’
Mark states, ‘text neck’ could lead to other problems if left untreated and anyone experiencing pain should get themselves checked. Some people get in their car, drive to work, work on a computer, play on their mobile phones on their breaks, drive home and work on their computer and their phone again in the evening and that’s really unhealthy. We are not built to be sitting down hunched over screens.’
‘However, that is exactly what people are doing with their necks. If people continue to put their necks in these positions, the body will gradually adapt to the stresses.
‘Because the head and neck move forwards, it will eventually lead to a reversal of the natural curve of the neck.
‘Postural changes will then occur, which can lead to serious problems in this area.’
The British Chiropractic Association reports that doctors are seeing an increased number of cases where overusing mobiles was contributing to neck and shoulder pain. ‘Our muscles are designed to flex and retract, if you stay in a fixed posture for too long like peering over a phone you are putting those muscles under stress.’
Mark, a BCA Chiropractor, says: ‘leaning the head forward is like holding a 10 to 12lb weight away from the body. Muscles will go into spasm if they have to hold such a position.’
He added that tall young women with slender necks were anatomically most at risk from neck problems, as were sedentary people not used to using different muscles.
FIVE TIPS FOR HEALTHY TEXTING
Mark shares how to ease texting pain…
- Take regular breaks from texting
- Look straight ahead every few minutes; pull the chin back into the neck and hold that position for a few seconds
- Rotate your shoulders while keeping your arms by your sides to increase blood-flow to the shoulders
- Sit up straight every time you text
- Put the phone a little higher when texting.
- With kids – make it fun – we set an alarm for our daughter if she is on the laptop or iPad and get up and do star jumps, shoulder rolls and moving the head from side to side to stretch out every 20 minutes!
If you have a specific question regarding any pain or problem areas, or would like to book a Free Back Check for you or your family please call Well Adjusted Health on 01903 892171
Take your first step towards enjoying your life more
From the team at Well Adjusted Health
Providing gentle chiropractic in West Sussex
including Ashington, Storrington, Steyning, Southwater, Horsham, Shoreham, Worthing and Billingshurst