When you have been looking down at your phone so often that the muscles in your neck change their resting length and your vertebrae shift position from a forward curve to a straight or reverse curve you have developed a condition that is now referred to as text neck.
Think of your head as a bowling ball and the muscles in the front and back of your neck as rubber bands. When you hold your head up straight the muscles in the front and back of your neck pull relatively equally. When you constantly keep your bowling ball head forward, you cause an imbalance in the muscles. The muscles in the back of your neck have to work extra hard to keep the bowling ball from rolling away. They get tense and sore. The front muscles start adopting a shorter resting length (because why waste the energy keeping them long when you are constantly keeping them short?) which causes neck stiffness and a change in posture.
Text neck can cause many symptoms such as:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Eye strain
- Premature degeneration of the spine
- Nerve damage
- Irritation of the vagus nerve contributing to cardiovascular or gastrointestinal problems
- Change in posture… and not for the better
You can avoid text neck by:
- Bringing the phone up to eye level.
- Limiting your time looking down to less than 15 minutes before spending a few minutes looking up.
- Stretching your neck muscles frequently.
- Practicing good posture with your head up and shoulders comfortably back.
- Getting chiropractic adjustments to keep your spine aligned and take tension off the joints. Schedule an appointment here.
- Using yoga or Pilates to keep the muscles in your back and neck strong and flexible.
- Avoid texting while sitting. Since research shows this is even more detrimental than texting while standing. This is because it causes, even more, neck flexion.
Modern technology isn’t going anywhere so we must be mindful of its downside. Being aware of your head position can go a long way in keeping your body healthy and happy.