Text neck symptoms include neck pain, chronic headaches, upper back pain & shoulder pain. Text neck is not only a texting problem, but a gaming, email and general screen time problem.
THE FACTS: The average human head weighs 10 pounds in a neutral position - when your ears are over your shoulders. For every inch you tilt your head forward, the pressure on your spine doubles. So, if you are looking at your smart phone on your lap, your neck is holding up what feels like 20 or 30 pounds. All of that extra pressure puts a strain on your spine and can pull it out of alignment.
THE DAMAGE: It is compared to bending your finger back all the way and holding it there for an hour. As you stretch the tissue for a long period of time it gets sore & inflamed. The real question is, "What are the long term effects going to be?". Staying in what experts call the 'forward head posture' can lead to muscle strain, disc herniations and pinched nerves. Over time, it can even flatten or reverse the natural curve of your neck. Try to take a deep breath in a slumped position. Now sit up straight and try again. Experts say slouching can reduce the capacity of your lungs by as much as 30%. A lack of oxygenated blood flowing through the body can potentially lead to vascular disease, and gastrointestinal problems can be caused by pressure placed on the organs in a bad posture.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Download 'Text Neck Indicator' on your Android phone (not yet available for iOS). When your phone is held at a safe viewing angle, a green light shines in the top corner. When you are at risk for text neck, a red light appears. Optional vibrations or beeps can be added as a warning. Most important, is taking frequent breaks while using any mobile device or desktop computer. About every 20 minutes, stand up, roll your shoulders and neck, or go for a short walk to improve blood flow. Be aware of your body. Keep your feet flat on the floor, roll your shoulders back and keep your ears directly over them so your head isn't tilted forward. Use a docking station and wrist guards to support the weight of the mobile device.
If symptoms do not improve, please consult Dr. Kevin or Dr. Mary. Regular adjustment and therapy to strengthen muscles can reduce symptoms significantly. Screen time is often unavoidable, make sure you are taking care of yourself to prevent chronic symptoms and long-term damage.