Neck pain and Your Cellphone


So is it not enough that the entire free world is stuck behind a desk, for 8 or more hours, rubber necking into a computer screen and suffering from a multitude of pain syndromes? You know the ones—carpal tunnel syndrome, tension headaches, eye strain, neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain-the typical complaints.

Well, evidently not because this is being compounded by “text neck” a term coined by a Floridian chiropractor named Dan Fishman after he noticed an influx of patients of all ages coming to him for neck pain.

For folks 50 and over, texting has been incorporated into your life on a limited basis.  Between the ages of 30 -50, text usage is likely between 5 and 10 / day.  Under the age of 30 however, statistics show you are sending a MINIMUM of 3000 text messages per month if not more.

So what you say? Here’s so what.  Texting begets “text neck” which exaggerates forward head posture which moves the position of your head forward from the center of your shoulders.  As your head moves forward, your center of gravity shifts and the weight of your head increases significantly.

Check this out. The human head weighs about 12 lbs.  At an angle of 15 degrees, this weight increases to about 27 lbs; 30 degrees, 40 lbs; 45 degrees, 49 lbs and at 60 degrees it’s a whopping 60 lbs!!

Would you voluntarily carry a 60-lb dumbbell around your neck like a ginormous necklace?  Well that’s what your neck feels like as you goose-neck your face into your cellphone!   So if you count the hours spent on the computer at work and add in the hours you spend Googling, texting and emailing, your neck is bound for hardship.

Tom DiAngelis, president of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Private Practice Section, stated that this constant forward head posture is akin to bending one of your fingers all the way back and holding it there for an hour…go ahead and try it…I’ll wait.

I like to say that our skeletal system is designed in the same vein as shock absorbers on a car or truck.  The three primary curves in the neck (cervical), mid back (thoracic) and low back (lumbar) dissipate the forces evenly throughout the entire spine allowing us to walk, run, skip and jump without undue stress on any one area.

The minute we comport our bodies in ways that remove these curves, we open ourselves up for trouble. We disturb the muscle balance of the tissues that surround the skeletal system.  Forward head posture shortens the anterior (front) neck and chest muscles and lengthen the posterior (back) neck muscles.

The anterior muscles lose range of motion which means you can’t extend your head as far back (as in looking up at the ceiling) or rotate as far (as in turning your head to look over your shoulder).  This muscle tightness can affect your shoulder range of motion as well.  Do this as an experiment: Slouch and raise your arms up to the ceiling. Lower them.  Now sit up straight and do the same.  Did you notice a difference?  Wasn’t there much less range when you slouched?  The result of chronic poor posture can lead to shoulder impingement and rotator cuff problems.

Conversely, the posterior neck muscles become overstretched.  Overstretched muscles grow weaker over time and have to work much harder to keep your head up.  This can lead to muscle strain, pain and tension headaches.

Here’s the remedy.  Take breaks.  Our bodies want to be in motion.  We get into trouble when we sit frozen in time over several hours.  Set your phone or your watch to buzz or vibrate every hour as a reminder to move or do a posture check.  Here are some really easy exercises to do during this reminder.

  • Look up to the ceiling and back to neutral 5 x
  • Look over your left shoulder and then over your right shoulder 5 x
  • Bring your left ear to your left shoulder and then your right ear to your right shoulder 5 x
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together 5 x
  • If you are sitting, stand up and bend backwards 5 x
  • Do heel raises and toe raises to get those ankles moving 10 x
  • Shake your hands

I just did the entire routine. It took me 75 seconds.  That’s nothing in the grand scheme of keeping your body healthy and pain free.

But here’s the crème de la crème.  Instead of looking down at your phone, just cast your eyes down.  Or hold the phone at eye level.  It may feel weird but once you begin to do it you will notice how good you neck and shoulders feel.


One small adjustment can make a world of difference

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#Neck #Textneck #Neckpain #Headup #Posture #Cellphone