If you’re constantly on your SmartPhone checking your texts or email, you may have the symptoms of “Text Neck,” which is also called turtle neck. It occurs because you’re chronically stressing your neck when you’re looking at hand held devices and flexing your head forward and is a repetitive stress/strain injury that can create neck pain, shoulder pain, headache, upper back pain and can promote thoracic kyphosis—hunchback.
When your posture is poor, it places undue force on many areas of the body.
Depending on your posture problem, there’s extra pressure placed on areas that weren’t meant to bear them. For instance, just slanting your head 15 degrees forward puts approximately 27 pounds of force on the neck. That stress increases to 40 pounds when the angle becomes 30 degrees. When the head tilts to 45 degrees the pressure goes up to 49 pounds and if it’s one of those sunny days where you have to tilt it dramatically to block the sun, a 60 tilt causes 60 pounds of pressure. Imagine putting a 60 pound weight on your neck and trying to lift your head!
There are other serious consequences besides just being a pain in the neck.
Flattening of thoracic kyphosis can occur. It is a medical term that basically means you’re losing that S curve in the spine and begin to demonstrate signs of a hunchback. That poor posture can also lead to other conditions like degeneration of the spine, muscle weakness, disc compression, early onset arthritis and ultimately, once your overall posture has permanently changed loss of lung capacity.
Prevention is the best way to deal with it.
Rather than dealing with the physical changes and aftermath of the poor posture, try to avoid it to begin with. Don’t stand in a bent posture for a long time, take breaks and don’t use your hand held device or smartphone for long periods. If you simply can’t go without checking your texts until you can sit down, hold the device so your neck isn’t stressed. A high volume of repetitive movements, such as typing or swiping the screen adds to the problem, so does a heavier device that’s held in one hand for a long time frame.
- Exercises that help stretch the neck can help reduce the pain and aid in preventing further problems. An exaggerated nod, downward facing dog and touching your toes then holding are three stretches that help.
- Regular exercises can help you stay fitter and keep your muscles strong to avoid postural changes that contribute to exacerbating the situation.
- Put a limit on when you’ll use your phone. Let others know that you won’t text back immediately if you’re walking, driving or not in a position where you can comfortable read and respond to texts.
- Stretch frequently throughout the day and practice good posture.