Are you battling constant neck pain and don’t know why? You may have text neck syndrome because of continually craning your neck to text on your phone. Fortunately, some text neck remedies correct posture and relieve neck pain.
Before cell phones became the norm, people stayed connected with old landline phones. While trying to multitask, you probably remember cradling the phone receiver between your neck and shoulder, which resulted in bad posture and neck pains.
Wouldn’t you feel lost without your smartphone? Not only can you use it to call your friends and family, but it’s a powerful computer and intelligent camera right in the palm of your hand. Instead of talking on the phone, millions of people prefer to converse by text messaging.
Look around you in public, and you are apt to see most people lowering their heads, engrossed in a texting conversation, or playing on their phones. Even in your living room, the kids are probably glued to their phones instead of socializing with each other. For every technological solution, we sometimes open Pandora’s box and create a host of new problems.
What is Text Neck?
Your neck is like any other part of your body. When it is overused and overextended for too long, it’s going to cause pain. If you continue what you’re doing, the pain can turn into a chronic condition.
A few years back, Dr. Dean Fisherman, an American chiropractor, was concerned about how many of his patients complained of similar neck issues. His investigations concluded that the culprit was people overextending their necks to read phones and other mobile devices. Dr. Fisherman originated the term text neck syndrome.
Your neck is a complex section of your upper spine, called the cervical spine. It contains seven spinal vertebrae and twenty-six muscles that are responsible for supporting your head and controlling its range of motion. Because of your cervical spine, you can move your head up and down and side to side.
Have you ever awakened in the morning with a painful crick in your neck from a poor sleeping posture? It’s because you have overextended your neck muscles. Your neck is designed for an astounding range of motions, but it’s not meant to stay bent for an extended period.
Did you know that the average human head weighs about 10-12 pounds? Not only does your neck support its weight, but it allows you to turn and pivot as needed. When you don’t practice good posture, you can see why you often get pains in the neck.
Think of your head like a ten-pound weight supported by a flexible beam, your cervical spine. When your head is balancing straight up, there is no force of gravity on your neck. With each degree of lowering your head to your chest, the force increases.
Did you know that while your head is lowered to read texts on your mobile device, your neck is bearing up to sixty pounds of pressure? No wonder text neck has quickly become a global epidemic.
Solutions for Painful Neck
When your neck hurts, your whole body aches because of the significant muscles and nerves involved. Medical specialists say that many people who develop neck pain can blame it on poor posture from mobile device use. If left untreated, text neck can lead to chronic pain, bone degeneration, and nerve damage.
Is the solution to text neck to stop texting and looking at your mobile devices? The good news is that with moderation and correct posture, you can still use your phone and other devices on the go. See it as using your smartphone more smartly.
Don’t let unnecessary neck pain keep you down. Hold your head high and discover how to use your mobile device without causing long-term injury to your body. Here are some text neck remedies that correct posture and relieve neck pain.
1. Keep Good Posture
Remember how your parents and teachers always reminded you to sit and stand up straight? Not only does good posture convey self-confidence and determination, but it keeps your bones, joints, and muscles healthy. A lifetime of slumping and slouching will take a toll on your body.
To practice good posture, look at yourself in a full-length mirror. Practice keeping your back straight, shoulders pulled back, and chin tucked in. Your position should feel and look natural, not like you are a frozen mannequin.
Make a habit of keeping your head up instead of nodding to the ground when you walk. When you sit, remember to keep your back and neck straight instead of slumping in the seat, especially when driving. When you internalize good posture as a habit, you should have less neck and back pain.
2. Keep Your Chin Up
When you observe a group of people indoors or walking down the sidewalk, most are inevitably lost in their mobile devices. Everyone’s neck is stooped to read the next text, email, or social media comment. It’s as if our tech-obsessed society has morphed into Quasimodo.
To minimize strain on your neck while viewing your mobile device, keep your chin up and bring the device to your eye level. If you are concerned about people peeking at your private texts and messages, then consider darkening your screen a bit or download a privacy screen app.
3. Give It a Break
When your neck and possibly other parts of your body chronically hurt because you live on your mobile device, it may be time to re-evaluate your priorities. Not only can overusing technology affect your bones and joints, imagine what it’s doing to your eyes and brain. How can you train yourself not to rely on mobile technology so much?
Of course, most of us depend on a phone for our jobs. You also need to stay in contact with your family when you’re on the go, especially in an emergency. Can you honestly say that every text and message must be taken immediately?
Learn to prioritize when to use your mobile devices and give yourself periodic breaks from them throughout the day. Instead, talk to people on the phone, in person, or save routine messages to read later. Try to make it a habit to enjoy meals with your family with no technology at the table.
If you are addicted to social media, schedule a time block for it, so you are not mindlessly scrolling for hours. When you get lost in the endless posts, pictures, and blogs, then you are bound to get pains in your neck and body. If necessary, set the alarm to let you know when to take periodic breaks from social media, texting, and email.
When you spend less time glancing at a screen, you will have more time for other things, like enjoying your family. You probably won’t even miss the glaring screen and neck pain. Be discerning of the time you spend on your mobile devices and be a good role model for your children.
4. Give Yourself A Healthy Stretch
Your body needs a balance of movement and rest for optimal health. Just as repetitive motion can affect your muscles, bones, and joints, so can staying in one position for an extended period. Poor posture while texting keeps you in a strange position that can cause damage.
Do you have a sedimentary job sitting in front of a computer screen, or you are in a car all day? Even when you are up and moving, are you always glued to your cell phone? Schedule 5-10 minutes each hour to stand, walk away from your desk, and stretch your arms and legs.
Gently roll your neck and shoulders to relieve built-up tension. Bend down and touch your toes and take a short walk to improve blood circulation and muscle stamina.
5. Practice Neck & Spine- Friendly Exercises
Your body needs regular exercise to stay toned and to work efficiently. Stress hormones and tension can build up in your muscles and cause myriads of aches, pains, and health issues. Exercising is a natural way to de-stress and maintain strength and agility.
Before you start any exercise regimen, talk to your wellness professional, or a certified fitness expert. You can find many exercises that target your neck, shoulders, and back. Gentle neck rolls and chin tucks are ideal ways to give your cervical spine a workout.
Yoga postures and Tai Chi movements are also valuable exercise skills to learn. They involve stretching, fluid movement, and deep breathing that benefit your entire body. Many of these exercises are available on Internet tutorials.
6. See a Chiropractor
For manual adjustment to ease neck pain, consult a licensed and experienced chiropractor. This professional can adjust a maligned neck and spine and show you beneficial exercises to do at home. You will learn how to be kind to the body that cares for you daily.
7. Learn to Relax with Meditation
If you want to relax tired and aching muscles, then meditation can help you with this monumental task. You can relax each muscle group as you work through your body, calming all the aching parts.
This Eastern art has been used for centuries to combat pain. Other helpful Eastern arts include acupuncture, cupping, and acupressure. When you learn to breathe properly, you can learn to channel energy and stop the pain in its tracks.
These suggestions offer you the heads-up about avoiding text neck and how to keep your neck and spine healthy. Learn to minimalize your screen time, maintain proper posture, and practice an exercise regimen that’s right for you. Look into the sky, breathe free, and say goodbye to those horrible pains in the neck.