Using your cell phone can be more harmful than you think. The more technologically driven our society has become, the more frequently we find ourselves using cell phones. Because we are constantly looking down at our phones, we are more likely to experience neck pain. It is a new phenomenon known as “text neck”.
Everything we do during the day is in front of us, especially with our phones: reading, texting, emailing, social media. As a result of always looking down, the neck can only withstand a limited amount of force overtime before succumbing to the increased tension. When that happens, the human body will respond with a forward head posture, increased tightness of the neck and upper back musculature, shoulder pain, neck pain, headaches, and vertigo, to name a few. The poorer our posture becomes, the greater the stress on our back and the greater the likelihood of developing degeneration of the spine.
So how much stress is being placed on the neck when we look down with our head? Here’s a great picture to answer that:
One of the best ways to correct forward flexion of the neck is by keeping the neck in a neutral spine and raising your phone to almost eye level; it’s better to bend with the eyes than the neck! If you experience tightness on either side of the neck when using your phone, stretching the largest cervical muscle, your upper trapezius, will alleviate your symptoms.
If, for example, the right side of your neck is tight, grab the top of the head with your left hand and gently pull your head to the left. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. If the stretch hurts, that’s your body’s way of telling you went too far with the stretch, so simply ease off it so that it’s comfortable without being painful.
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-Sara Ansari., DPT at Dedham Health Physical Therapy