TEXT NECK … Is that really a “thing”?

Indeed it is. Think about it. We spend much of our day with our heads lowered to read our smartphones. It’s not unusual to see people “text-walking” or worse, driving while texting. With all the advantages of having a world of information at our fingertips, there is also an associated health risk.

There are over 4 billion mobile devices in the world and the average American usage is 2.7 hours per day communicating on these devices. It’s no wonder we have sore necks and shoulders. In fact, it’s becoming an epidemic affecting millions and it’s growing.

Constant lowering of the neck to look downward puts the spine in an unnatural curve that can cause reduction in the cervical spine, thus creating a “pain in the neck”. Worse, that pain can radiate through the shoulders, creating tension, and even debilitating headaches. As the situation intensifies, the arms may become weak, numb, or tingle. Over time, this pattern can become lingering and as a result, a challenge to treat.

The average head weighs about 10 pounds. When tilted downward 15 degrees, the force of your head on your cervical spine increases to about 25 pounds. The more tilt, the more weight; that can be up to as much as 60 pounds of force on your neck. Prolonged tilting downward creates excessive strain causing stress injury. Over a long period of time it may even lead to spinal misalignment, early onset of arthritis, disc compression, or nerve damage.

So how do we combat this growing concern? Resistance and strengthening are keys to reinforce the neck and shoulder muscles and offset damage. Taking frequent breaks, maintaining good posture, and doing neck stretches help circumvent damage. Most important, when using a mobile device, place it at eye level to avoid tilting of the neck. Remember … Hold Your Head Up!

If you believe you have “text neck” or any form of musculoskeletal pain, Sarasota Orthopedic Associates has four convenient locations to help you alleviate your discomfort. We offer same day appointments when needed. Give us a call at 941-951-2663 (BONE) or check our website here for more information.

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