A new health condition affecting people worldwide is being referred to as “text-neck.” It is caused by the increasing use of mobile devices, which causes people to awkwardly bend their head downward and keep it bent as they read and send texts – as well as do everything else on the internet.
Because of text-neck, people are reporting neck pain in greater numbers and at younger ages than ever before. This condition is affecting people from their teens into later decades.
Anyone who uses a cellphone is at risk. Neck pain was previously associated with reading books, but the prevalence of mobile devices for work and entertainment increases the chance of developing text-neck.
What Causes Pain in the Neck?
Neck pain has traditionally affected older people, caused by the normal aging effects of wear and tear. As convenient as the new portable devices are, using them for extended periods of time can open the door for potential problems in the not-so-distant future, regardless of the user’s age.
The muscles in the neck are designed to support the weight of the head, which is about 10 to 12 pounds. Evidence shows that dropping the head all the way to the chest increases neck strain exponentially – and can also aggravate the muscles of the shoulders and back.
When a person bends their neck down and keeps it down, three separate actions take place: The head drops, the neck moves forward, and the muscles in the shoulders and neck contract. This can result in spasms and neck pain.
Additionally, there are other health worries that can be blamed on the use of mobile devices. The lungs cannot expand fully when the torso is hunched forward, and this reduces their ability to draw in oxygen. This lack of oxygen can cause the heart to work harder in order to maintain the proper levels of oxygenated blood in the body.
Tips to Fight Text-Neck
There are a few ways in which you can continue to use your mobile device and avoid developing text-neck:
- Maintain Good Posture – Keep your back straight, and raise the device to look at it in a more straightforward direction.
- Keep the Shoulders Back – By pulling your shoulders back, it forces the spine to keep its natural shape – and it also reduces back strain, which helps to reduce neck strain.
- Take Breaks from Devices – If you need motivation, set a timer on the phone or laptop for 30 to 45 minutes, and take a break when the alarm sounds.
How Mobile Devices Have Changed Our Lifestyle
Computers have been in widespread use for over 20 years, so why is this happening now? It is because of the increasing reliance on portable devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
There are actually many possible causes of text-neck, including just reading a book. Try and pay attention to your posture for a whole day: Do you bend your neck when working? When driving? When reading?
Try and eliminate as much head-bending as possible. You’ll feel better for merely having better posture.
Orthopedist in Maryland
If your day is filled with neck pain, contact our team at the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland. We can help you stop feeling that nagging neck pain anymore.
Call us today at (410) 644-1880 or schedule an appointment online. Let us help you put an end to that pain in the neck once and for all!