Looking down at a mobile device for too long and too often causes neck pain and poor posture resulting in text neck. People of all ages are susceptible to this painful condition and need to learn proper techniques for viewing handheld devices.
What is text neck?
Dr. Chris Serafini: Text neck is a term used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless device too frequently and for too long. Using a mobile device can often lead to poor posture and symptoms of text neck.
What are some symptoms people experience if they have text-neck?
Dr. Chris Serafini: Some signs and symptoms really are instant upper back and neck when using a handheld device. Nagging or sharp pain in the neck. Shoulders at the end of the day. General shoulder pain and tightness. Intermittent or constant headache, made worse when looking down or using a computer. Carpal tunnel syndrome, those are just a few, but to name some.
Is this most common in children and young adults?
Dr. Chris Serafini: I don’t know if I’d say it is most common. Actually, it is pretty frequent, but I think it’s really common in everybody at this point because most people use some sort of device. I will give you some texting/phone stats and statistics. These are just in the United States alone. There’s six billion texts are sent every single day. 2.27 trillion texts are sent every year. An average person checks their cell phone 46 times a day. The average person spends 4.7 hours on their cell phone per day. Teens spend an average of 5000 hours per year texting, with their neck at an uncomfortable angle. For every inch that your head comes forward, it adds stress equal to ten pounds of extra weight that your neck has to carry. The average teenager checks their cell phone 74 times a day. Just to give you a little bit of an example, there were some stats and statistics. We’re doing this a lot, quite often; it is definitely having effects with our necks.
Can text-neck cause other problems in the spine and other areas of the body?
Dr. Chris Serafini: Absolutely it can. There is a wonderful slide that I use a lot in my office. It talks about the dangers of forward head posture, the domino effect. It says really, the head moves forward, shifting the center of gravity to compensate for the upper body, the upper body drifts backwards. To compensate for the upper body shift, the hips tilt forward. So the forward head position can be the cause in not only head and neck problems, but also mid-back and low-back problems. It really does have a domino effect, and it affects the whole entire body.
How should people use their devices to avoid getting text neck?
Dr. Chris Serafini: It seems kind of obvious, but I think most people should hold the phone up to their face instead of hovering over top of it in their lap. You want to hold the phone up to the face and keep your head up and back. You also want to use an armrest, if it’s available. So if you’re sitting in a chair and there’s an armrest, you can put your elbow on the armrest and keep the phone relatively in front of the face. That is a good little tip. Also, if you’re carrying the phone in your right hand, there’s no armrest, you can take your left hand and tuck it in your elbow area, or sorry your armpit area, and that way it kind of keeps your arm up, almost kind of like a shelf more or less. That will also keep the phone in front of your face. Or you want to try and prop the device up somehow. A lot of times iPads, or even cell phones these days, they have a mechanism or a device on there were you can prop it up. That is obviously a good tip too.
If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Chris Serafini, visit www.thescottsdalechiropractor.com or call 480-443-7678 to schedule an appointment.