The newest version of the iPhone was announced today, and it's safe to say that many, MANY people will be buying one immediately when they become available. In this day and age owning a cell phone has become a necessity for most people. From teenagers to senior citizens, more and more people are nearly constantly on their phones to keep in touch with friends and family, take pictures and share their thoughts on social media, watch movies, use the internet, and more! The problem with that is, using a smartphone too often can cause major problems with your neck and back!
The term "Text Neck" has been given to describe the neck pain caused from the overuse of smart phones and other similar devices. Text neck is a repetitive stress injury usually involving the head, neck, and shoulders, and it occurs due to excessive strain on the spine from the repeated looking forward and/or downward constantly at handheld devices. This strain can lead to pain in the neck, shoulders and arms, headaches, compromised breathing, and more. And it is not just limited to the upper body. While this position usually only strains the muscles in the neck and shoulders, the pain it causes can actually affect the spine all the way down to the lower back!
One of the biggest dangers about Text Neck is that it is not just adults that are being affected, but children as well. In fact, children may be in even greater danger of neck and back problems, as these handheld devices become a larger part of everyone's lives. Doctors have even begun to notice an increase in the curvature of the spine in kids due to overuse of these devices.
Here are some tips to remember to avoid the so-called Text Neck:
- Remember to sit up straight with your chest out and shoulders back
- Bring your device up in front of your eyes when looking at the screen instead of looking down
- When you do look down, tuck your chin into your chest instead of dropping your entire head forward
- If possible, rest your forearms on a pillow to help minimize neck tension
- Avoid using mobile devices in bright light or sunlight. While straining to see the screen people tend to jut their chins forward, which increases the workload on the neck muscles
At the Illinois Back Institute we strive to educate everyone as much as possible about their back pain and sciatica, because it is proven that the more people know about their problem the more likely they are to eliminate it!
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