Our smartphones are constantly going off with text alerts, Facebook notifications and Twitter news. Within seconds of every alert, we find ourselves looking down at those tiny screens in our hands. Most smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours a day looking down at their phone. As time goes on, the added stress on your spine from looking down can worsen your posture, straining the muscles in your neck, back, and shoulders.
What is Text Neck?
In a normal, neutral standing position, you’re facing forward and all the curves of your neck and back are in correct alignment. Nothing is protruding too far out and there is no added stress on the muscles. However, when you drop your chin to your chest for a long period of time, your upper back and neck muscles start to strain from the weight of your head.
Although the average head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds, as we angle them down to look at our phones, we add on more weighted stress to our necks. The longer we spend looking down at the phones, the more pressure is put on the spine and upper back muscles.
This stress can lead to weak, tight muscles in the back, shoulder, and neck muscles. Over time, if posture doesn’t improve and muscles are still struggling to maintain balance, it could develop into Upper Cross Syndrome. This painful condition causes the shoulders to become rounded forward in a hunched position while causing pain in the upper back, shoulders, and neck.
Preventing Text Neck
There are several steps you can take to avoid the pains of text neck and avoid Upper Cross Syndrome.
The most important step is to make sure you’re practicing proper posture, regardless of whether you’re sitting at a computer or standing up on your phone. Practice holding your phone in front of you instead of looking down.
You can also do exercises to strengthen and stretch your chest and back muscles. This will prevent them from becoming too weak and tightening up, causing you to hunch over. Rowing exercises are great for building chest and back strength, while thoracic mobility exercises and neck stretches can help relieve any built-up tightness in the neck and back.
DISCLAIMER: always consult with your doctor before any exercise program. if you experience any numbness, tingling, or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor.
- Tie an elastic band around a stable object or have a workout buddy hold the center of the band for you.
- Taking each end of the elastic band, stand tall with abs tight and hold the ends in front of you with elbows bent next to your sides at a 90-degree angle.
- Pull the handles back until they are next to your side and elbows behind you.
- Slowly release.
- Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
- Lay on your side with your hips and knees flexed, head supported, and arms extended in front of you with your hands together.
- Protract your shoulder blade by reaching forward with your top hand.
- Retract back and slowly lift your arm and rotate your trunk to reach the ground on the opposite side.
- Make sure your look at your fingertips during the entire movement to make sure you are rotating your spine and not only moving your arm.
- Come back to the starting position and repeat.
- Your lower back, hips, and legs should remain still during this exercise.
- Complete 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
Seated Scapula Stretch
- Sit with your back straight.
- Tilt and turn your head to the opposite side.
- Nod your head forward until a stretch is felt along the side and back of the neck.
- Apply extra pressure (gently) with your hand to increase the stretch if needed.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds
- Sit and place your hands right under your collarbone on the affected side.
- Pull down towards floor gently with hands to lower the top ribs.
- With your chin tucked-in, slightly lean your head sideways away from your hands until a stretch is felt along the side of the neck.
- Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds.
A Fast Fix for Text Neck and Back Pain
If you’ve tried the above stretches and still struggle to keep your head up, schedule an appointment with us at Airrosti. Our providers focus on outcomes and exceptional patient care by thoroughly assessing your pain to pinpoint the cause and treat it at the source. They will also provide you the tools and resources you need to stay pain free and prevent future injury.
We also offer remote telehealth appointments. Give us a call at (800) 404-6050 to learn more about telehealth and schedule your virtual appointment today.
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