All around the work, digital devices have taken over. Everyone has a cell phone. Very young kids even have them. Most adolescents and teens HAVE to have them. Heads are down, thumbs are madly working to write, send and receive messages. On the road, I see constantly people texting and driving. Anytime there is a "wait" - people are on their cell phones.
So tech neck, or text neck is happening. Keeping our head and shoulders in this position of using our cell phones for long periods of time has create a real health phenomenon. Your neck muscles get shorter and tighter and shoulders get rounded. Your posture is strained. Especially over long periods of time.
What the signs and symptoms- and what can we do alleviate this?
- Neck Pain - looking in the downward position adds extra weight to our head to carry around- sometimes up to 60 pounds of pressure. When your spine is in neutral position, it holds up your head which weighs about 10-12 pounds. When you neck is bent 15 degrees, your neck holds up 27 pounds of pressure. When your neck is bent 45 degrees, the neck holds up 49 pounds. When your neck is bent 60 degrees, your neck is holding up 60 pounds of pressure. Neck Pain and neck stiffness can be very common.Keeping your phone in a different position away from your head and neck is recommended.
- Headaches - This type of position of constantly looking down, can be a major source of headaches.Sitting more upright and bringing your phone to eye level can be beneficial and decrease headache occurences.
- Eye Strain- Glaring at a tv screen, computer screen, ipad or mobile phone can cause eye strain. Just like playing video games, you blink less, you stare at the screen.This can cause over tiredness in the eyes. It can cause blurriness as well. Looking away for 5-10 minutes can help.
- Shoulder Pain - Any time you are hunched over doing a task, its easy to hunch the shoulders. It can cause an ache and pain in the shoulder area. Be conscious of this. Stretch out your shoulders, and do shoulder rolls periodically.
- Upper Back Pain - Same as shoulder pain. Doing a task repeatedly in one position, can also cause upper back pain. Again take time to look away from your phone and stretch out your back.
- Thumb and Finger Pain - Overuse can cause numbness and tingling, tiredness and pain in the thumbs and the fingers. Simply stretching out your fingers, wriggling your fingers and rotating your wrists gently can help greatly.
Our use of digital devices is not going to be decreasing anytime soon. So best advice: Get used to it - do it in a healthy manner. Think about your neck, shoulders, upper back and hands next time you text, and you will feel less pain in the long run.
My advice: use your cell phone less. Use Siri. Use the tool that automatically types for you. Put your phone on hold mode when you are driving. Talk to people. Exercise. Take a Break. Know that life goes on without your device.
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