If you’ve never heard of text neck before, that’s about to change. Also referred to as tech neck, text neck pain is the latest body ailment to plague young and old alike. As you may have guessed, text neck refers to a repetitive stress injury which happens when your head is hung forward, looking down at your smartphone, tablet, or another handheld device for long periods of time.
As technology has made its way into all aspects of our life, it was only a matter of time before our bodies started to feel the impact. Don’t get us wrong, technology is great and has drastically changed how we communicate with one another, seek knowledge and information, and perform everyday tasks, but there also some negatives that come along with it. Text neck pain, being one.
The Dangers of Text Neck
It’s safe to say that anyone that has a smartphone or other mobile device is susceptible to text neck. When the head isn’t in an upright, neutral position, it can cause “the 40-pound head,” which basically means there is a great deal of weight and displaced pressure on the neck.
Many of the injuries that happen as a result of text neck pain do not show up right away, making it difficult for people to realize just how much damage they are doing. Furthermore, we often get so wrapped up in what we are doing on our phones that we don’t even realize we have bad posture.
Stretches and Exercises to Reverse Text Neck Pain
If you are someone who does a lot of emailing or texting on your phone, it is absolutely imperative you reverse the forward position with a counter pose. Here are a few exercises you can perform a few times each day to prevent the long-term painful effects of text neck:
- The exaggerated nod – One of the simplest exercises for text neck pain is basically an exaggerated nod. When sitting upright, slowly nod your head ‘yes’ a couple of times, holding the position for 10 seconds with your head all the way back and again when it is forward.
- Open your chest – Chest opening exercises are excellent for people who work on the computer or spend a lot of time on their phones. There are many different chest opening exercises, but one of the simplest is to either sit or stand with your hands clasped behind your head. Take your elbows back slowly, squeezing your shoulder blades at the same time. You should feel a really nice stretch across the front of your chest.
- Practice good posture – You can perform all the exercises in the world, but the best thing you can do for your body is to practice good posture – when sitting and standing. Stand up straight with your chin tucked and shoulders back. When seated, make sure your computer is at eye level and you are sitting up straight.
Bring Awareness to Your Daily Life
It is easy to fall into bad habits that we don’t even realize we are doing. However, these bad habits can lead to serious health issues, such as chronic pain. The good news is that it’s not too late. If you find yourself hunched over, staring at your phone throughout the day, try to bring awareness to these actions and reverse them. Take frequent breaks from whatever it is you are doing, raise the phone so it is closer to eye level, and pay attention to your resting posture. Physical therapy is also a great option, especially if you have any existing head or neck issues. Text neck pain can lead to more serious health complications down the road, so practicing body awareness starting now is your key to a pain-free future.