There are several health issues that seem to have arisen in our current tech driven society. Strained eyes from staring at screens is certainly an issue, but the need for reading glasses isn’t particularly new. While we all know the importance of water quality at the office and standing to take breaks every 45 mins or so, many of us don’t realize that this problem is increasing in popularity as a side affect of looking at our phones during our water breaks, at home, and nearly everywhere we go!
Text neck – how’s that for a modern ailment? Stemming from an increased dependence on cell phones, “text neck” is a fairly new term, one that describes the pain and harm caused by hunching over your phone for too long. And it isn’t just an ailment for millennials – anyone uses their cell phone regularly is susceptible.
What exactly is text neck, though? Chiropractors would classify text neck as a “repetitive strain injury”, or RSI, since it develops through repetitive motions and results in pain and damage. The repeated tilting of your head, often couple with a characteristic hunch of the shoulders, puts excessive force on your neck and causes your spine to curve unnaturally. Over time, this can lead to stiffness, weakness, headaches and radiating pain. If that doesn’t sound like fun to you, you are absolutely correct – so here’s how you can prevent it!
Cut Down On Your Screen Time
This may not be a viable solution for some, who need to be glued to their phone for work. But for everyone else, cutting down on screen time is the simplest, most effective way of ensuring you don’t see an RSI. Plus, cutting down on screen time apparently has other benefits as well, including a better sleep schedule and reduced anxiety.
See A Chiropractor
Just like an athlete would visit a sports chiropractor after straining her/himself playing sports, you should seek help if your texting starts getting painful. No ailment is too trivial or too small for a chiropractor, who will help you with pain relief – usually through spinal adjustments – as well as learning preventative measures, like proper stretching and posture.
Everyone has those days when their phone just keeps buzzing, or they just have to beat those next 20 levels of Candy Crush. If you notice you are using your phone excessively, at least try walking away from it every fifteen minutes or so; get up, grab a glass of water, and walk around for a little while. Ironically, there are even apps available that tell you when to take a break, so you can get your phone to tell you when to not be on your phone.
Work On Your Phone Posture
Keep your phone at eye level, that way you aren’t tilting your neck to look at it. That is probably the number one posture tip for the frequent phone user, and although it may feel odd at first, it can save you a good deal of pain in the future. The same goes for your tablet, laptop, computer, gaming console… whatever screen you use.
Text neck might be a uniquely contemporary ailment, but the methods for treating and avoiding it have been around for some time. Practice some phone restraint, consult with a chiropractor, take frequent breaks to avoid static strain and pay attention to your posture. Until they make an app that alleviates neck pain, you will just have to do it the old fashioned way!