If you’re reading this on a mobile device, watch out for Text Neck…
We’re wonderful and brilliantly brainy creatures but we aren’t very good at keeping our ergonomics in check. Our new technological advances have left us with Lazy Bum syndrome from sitting around all day, leading to a whole host of well-documented health issues (btw make sure you get a standing desk!). And now we have Text Neck.
Text Neck (also called the i-hunch) is when your head is held in a forward and downward position from craning at a small hand-held screen. Forces on our neck, the top of our spinal curvature, increase the more we tilt our heads. So if we take our weighty skull and let it dip forward, the repercussions are felt disproportionately across our spinal muscles that running down our neck and into our mid-back.
The Americans have an easy (non-metric!) way to describe the over-loading of your spine that occurs when your heads tilts too far forward. With a 60 degree angulation forward- something we frequently see in teens and young people particularly- there is an additional 60lb loading on the spine. That’s 27kg worth of additional force that your spinal muscles have to try and counter-balance!
Because most people aren’t strong enough in their upper backs, prolonged forward head positions can lead to tension headaches, nerve pinching and early spinal degeneration through the facet joints and discs. With text neck, you might lose range of motion through your neck and hear clicking and crunching sounds when you move it. Pain may also be referred through the shoulders into the arms and you might experience an overall feeling of ‘heaviness’.
From an aesthetic point of view, it’s not pretty either. Muscles at the front of the body become shortened and tightened and shoulders will remain in a forward hunched position. The Text Neck posture does not scream alive, vibrant and in control. In fact, as a physical signature (see this blog), the effect is to look world-weary and under-confident which may then seep into your psyche. It’s all inter-related!
So don’t let Text Neck happen!
Most people are on their mobile devices for between two and four hours a day but it doesn’t have to be detrimental to your postural health. Just hold the phone (or tablet) up a little higher so it is directly in your line of vision or set it somewhere to rest at height while you scroll through.
And if you feel that you already have a bit of Text Neck, just make sure that you stretch through your neck muscles several times daily. A particularly effective stretch is trying to make a double-chin and drawing your neck backwards and upwards (the opposite, of course, of forwards and downwards…it’s all physics!).
Come and see us at One Grove to make sure that you exercise a long lengthened spine and powerful upper back muscles. Our mission is to get you straight and strong for daily life -as well as for your sports endeavours and a healthy future.
And if you want to go a step further and invest in technology to counter the effect of over-using too much technology (that’s a geeky paradox!), have a look at the excellent Lumo Lift wearable posture coach.
Now, look up!