Yes, text neck. Text neck (try saying it repetitively and twice as fast for a fun tongue twister challenge) is a term that is used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long or playing games like Pokemon go.
I’m sure we can all relate to this as everything we do nowadays is dependent on our mobile devices. From replying to a message, playing games, keeping up with funny cat videos (my personal favorite), and updating social media, everything revolves around our mobile devices.
However, this may come at a severe cost as how we hold our devices impacts our posture and our natural spinal alignment. It is especially concerning because young, growing children could cause permanent damage to their cervical spines that could lead to lifelong neck pain.
Here’s what happens!
In simple terms, the human head weighs about a dozen pounds. As the neck bends forward and downwards, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds.
If you are having trouble grasping the idea of 60 pounds, imagine carrying an eight-year-old around your neck for the total number of hours that you look down at your device!
Stiff necks, carpal tunnel syndrome, cervical spine spasms, headaches from muscle tension, flattening of the spinal curve, spinal degeneration, disc herniation, loss of lung volume capacity, nerve damage, and gastrointestinal problems could all be results of indulging in your devices with improper positioning. That’s a lot of complications, which I’m sure we all want to avoid because they sound scary and painful.
Let’s look at the symptoms:
If you experience any of these symptoms, you might have a text neck. Mostly, there will be pain and soreness in the neck region. Moreover, if you look down at your device too often each day, it might lead to the following issues:
- Upper back pain ranging from a chronic, nagging pain to sharp, severe upper back muscle spasms.
- Shoulder pain and tightness, possibly resulting in painful shoulder muscle spasm.
- If a cervical nerve becomes pinched, pain, and possibly neurological symptoms can radiate down your arm and into your hand.
So how can we avoid the text neck??
Firstly, using messaging applications like iOS WhatsApp or Aero WhatsApp, what we can do to counter the evil, aka text neck, is to hold your phone at eye-level. If you have a tablet or an iPad, put it on a stand at eye level, so you avoid adding stress and pressure on that weak neck of yours. Alternatively, you can look down at your device with your eyes. In this case, there would be no need to bend your neck.
Set a timer on your smartphone to go off every 30 – 40 minutes or so, and when it does go off, get up and stretch. Posture is essential, and merely arching your neck and upper back backward and pulling your shoulders into alignment under your ears can help alleviate stress and muscle pain.
If you work in an office, make sure your screen is set up so that when you look at it, you are looking forward, with your head positioned squarely in line with your shoulders and spine. Not only is this ergonomically friendly, but it also helps your bodily posture remaining at its best, given the circumstances.
Therefore, guys, it is incredibly vital for us to take note of this “epidemic,” which can be easily avoided with just a few simple steps. It’s bad enough that we bury ourselves in the current of technology that eats away at our social interactions, the last thing we need is for it to take a toll on our health.
I’m not against technology in any way if that’s what you’re thinking; I’m all up for it as it makes life so much easier. But I think it is worth taking some time to think about the missed chances that you might have had granted you looked up.
For all we know, the love of our lives could’ve been in front of us the whole time, but we didn’t notice because we were too busy watching cat videos on the internet with our heads hanging down. So, the next time you see someone who is at risk of text neck, go up to them and tell them about its implications. You would be doing them a huge favor.