A new buzz word we are hearing more and more is “Text Neck.” Whether you have heard this term before or not, we can all agree that we are spending an increasing amount of time on our cell phones, laptop, tablets, etc.
A large majority of people reading this article are likely sitting and using their favorite electronic device. I would be willing to bet that they are not sitting with the best posture. Did you just re-adjust your sitting posture? Me too. We all know the importance of posture, however, we tend to ignore it. If you have neck pain, stiffness in your shoulders, or frequent headaches, you could be suffering from “text neck”.
“Text neck” itself is defined as postural overuse involving the head, neck, and shoulders. The position of looking down at your phone or any other device applies a stress to the muscles along our head and neck. The shift in position forces your otherwise dormant neck muscles to have to work, fighting the pull of gravity. Maintaining this posture for as little as three minutes can lead to muscle strains and headaches (1).
The average human head weighs ten to twelve pounds. If you were to look down at a fifteen-degree angle, your head now weighs about twenty-seven pounds. If you tilt forward forty-five degrees you head becomes forty-nine pounds, and at sixty degrees it’s sixty pounds (2)! The most common position people use their smartphone is around forty-five degrees. This means your head goes from weighing about ten pounds to almost FIFTY pounds the whole time you are browsing through your favorite social media page. These are some pretty eye-opening numbers. No wonder our necks and shoulders are so sore.
Want to learn how to avoid “text neck”? Check out the video below where I discuss tips to avoid and even reverse “text neck”! We all know cell phones and other forms of technology are not going anywhere anytime soon. Start making the changes today to prevent tomorrow’s pain!
If you are dealing with neck pain in your daily life, click the link below to schedule your free discovery visit with a physical therapist at Buffalo Rehab Group.
1. Walter, L. “Text Neck: The Link Between Texting and Musculoskeletal Injuries.” EHS Today 27 Feb. 2013: Print
2. Bever, L. “Text neck is becoming an ‘epidemic’ and could wreck your spine.”Washington Post 20 Nov. 2014: Print
3. Lee S, Kang H, Shin G. Head flexion angle while using a smartphone. Ergonomics. 2014;58(2):220-226.