In December of 2010, Americans sent 510 billion text messages according to the Census Bureau. As technology advances, allowing us to do more tasks on smaller equipment, our bodies often pay the price. With a growing potential for injuries from tools we rely on, it’s a good time to learn how to minimize the risks.
One problem that is becoming more and more prevalent is neck strain from the overuse of these devices, or “text neck.”
What causes text neck?
Text neck is caused by poor posture when using a mobile device. It’s all too common to become hunched over with your head drooping forward and your shoulders rounded as you become engrossed in your messaging or games.
How to avoid text neck
- Sit up straight with your chest out and your shoulders back.
- Bring your arms up in front of your eyes so that you don’t need to look down to see the screen.
- Tuck your chin into your chest to look down rather than dropping your head forward.
- If you must use your mobile device for lengthy typing, invest in an external keyboard.
- Rest your forearms on a pillow while typing to help minimize neck tension.
- Avoid using PDAs while in bright sunlight. Straining to see the screen leads to jutting the chin forward, shifting work from the spine to the muscles that hold up the head.
The best way to avoid text neck is to limit the use of your mobile device. If you need to send an email, wait until you have access to a computer. If you need to share some information, call the person rather than texting.
- Hand stretch. Start with your hands in a fist, and stretch your fingers out as wide as they’ll go, and then return to a fist. Shoot for about ten stretches with each hand.
- For added resistance, you can stretch a rubber band around your fingers.
- Squeeze a stress ball. Do this for approximately 30 seconds for each hand.
- Chest stretch. To counteract the hunched posture of texting, stand up straight with your arms down at your sides. Turn your forearms until your thumbs are pointing at the wall behind you. Repeat five times.
If you have "text neck," visit your chiropractor as soon as possible for an evaluation. Next, we will explore "Texting Thumb Tendinitis."