Are you reading this post on a mobile device right now? If you are– freeze! Check your body positioning. Is your phone near your lap? Is your head bent down to see the screen? Are you slouching?
In today’s tech-savvy day and age, everyone is glued to their smartphones. Studies are showing that 79% of people between the ages of 18 and 44 have their cell phones with them for 22 hours per day. Twenty-two hours! And if you’re not using proper posture when doing so, you’re setting yourself up for a whole bunch of problems.
“Text neck” or “tech neck,” as some professionals are naming it, can contribute to headaches, neck and back pain, and can even affect your breathing or lead to the early onset of arthritis. So if you’re updating Facebook or checking your Instagram feed, consider also checking in on how you can prevent these potential health problems. And just because the condition is termed “text neck” doesn’t mean it’s limited to only phone use. Handheld gaming devices, e-readers, and computers can all have the same effects.
Infographic courtesy of Backs in Action
Try these quick and easy modifications to log out of pain:
- Take frequent breaks. Looking up from your device regularly can help relieve some of the pressure of constantly looking down.
- Sit up straight. Imagining someone is pulling your body up by a string in the top of your head can help you maintain a better sitting posture, and take stress off of your back and shoulders.
- Stretch. Frequent stretching between phone use can help minimize tension in your neck and back. Try looking up towards the ceiling, or tucking your chin to your chest to relax the muscles in your neck, and making small circles with your shoulders to take some stress off your back.
- Hold the phone higher. By lifting your phone up closer to eye level, you can avoid the “text neck” position altogether.
- Set reminders. Put a small sticker or marking on or near your phone’s screen, and use it as a visual reminder to check your posture. Or use your smartphone to set reminders or alerts that can prompt you to rethink your body positioning.
If you’re still feeling neck and back pain after integrating these modifications, check in with your chiropractor. He or she can help correct any dysfunction and suggest other exercises to help strengthen your back and neck.