Could You Have Text Neck?

Saying that technology leads to neck and back pain may be overstating the case, but there is a link between our obsessions with hand-held electronics and spinal health.

Text Neck is a syndrome involving the head, neck, and shoulders, usually resulting from excessive strain on the spine from looking in a forward and downward position at any hand-held mobile device. The end result of the postural stress caused by these devices is known as FHP or Forward Head Posture. It causes a variety of symptoms that can range from mild annoyances to significant levels of disability. We can often feel the results of FHP, such as neck and upper back pain or stiffness, when returning to a neutral position after just a few minutes of looking downward at the hand-held device. With time, these symptoms can expand to include headaches, neck strain, pinched nerves, and a host of other painful symptoms involving the upper extremities.

A few suggestions to avoid any undue strain to your muscles while using these hand-held devices: sit up straight, chest out, bring your shoulders down and back, raise your screen up to eye level, and tuck your chin to your chest when looking down. Ideally, you should try to use some of these devices less often. Call rather than get involved in a lengthy text conversation. Save long emails for your computer rather than typing them into your phone.

The bad news about FHP is that in a few years it will be much more prevalent than it is today. Most kids between the ages of 8 and 18 spend an average of nearly 8 hours a day either playing DS style games, texting, or using smart phones in some way. Chances are this statistic will worsen.

FHP is a type of repetitive stress syndrome. While the world is changing its communication habits it is vital for our health that we manage the time that we spend with our hand-held devices.

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