What Texting Does to Your Neck!

cell-phone-spine

Due to the recent smart phone invasion, our clinic has noticed a significant increase in lower neck pain.  We call it the Smartphone Syndrome.  For some reason it’s in our human nature to bring our head toward our phone rather then bring the phone toward our head.  You can see in the picture above just how bad that can be for our neck and posture.  For short periods of time this increase in weight is negligible.  But when we are sending whole conversation over the phone, updating our fantasy teams, and checking the hour by hour weather report for the next 3 days, it start to become a problem.

Take a look at the picture above.  What skeleton human would you be?  I think most of us would have to say either the 4th or 5th guy on the right.  In order to avoid unwanted distraction during an intense game of words with friends, we tend to inch our head closer and closer to the cell phone screen.  Imagine carrying 50 to 60 pounds in your arms for 15 to 30 minutes.  How do you think your arms would feel?  Could you even do it?  Well now imagine that is what your neck skeleton is having to do when you are on your phone 15 to 30 minutes!

Hopefully we are all starting to get the picture now, and your probably wondering….well what can I do about it!?  Well, there are two ways to help improve our posture during smartphone use.  First, and easiest, lower your eyes to the phone without lowering your head.  Meaning, be the first guy on the left in the picture above.

Second, is to bring the phone to your head.  It may be a little more difficult on your arms, but those appendages are build for carrying a 1/4 lb weight.  Your neck is not made to carry a 50lb pound weight.  If you are sitting, then rest a pillow under your arms and bring the phone up to eye level.

If you find yourself forgetting to do either of these things, then the least you can do for yourself if some simple neck stretches.  Try do take breaks every 3-5 minutes to look up, take some breaths, and try a couple of these quick stretches…

shoulder retractions       neckretraction     mountain pose

 

Hold each of these for 3 to 5 seconds and do each one 2 or 3 times.