Sudden pain in the neck? A nasty twinge in the shoulder that won’t go away? Is text neck a myth or a real condition? Your friendly Ealing chiropractor takes a closer look.
Modern life has changed a lot of things. We can now reach out around the world in a matter of seconds with our mobile phones for a start. More of us than ever before have sedentary jobs sat at a desk whereas just 60 years ago most of us were in manual labour and manufacturing jobs.
You might not think that your mobile phone or sedentary lifestyle is causing postural problems but that neck pain you’ve been feeling recently may indeed be down to way too much texting, checking the internet, watching YouTube videos or posting on social media.
As an Ealing chiropractor, I’ve seen major changes in lifestyles over the last decade or so impacting the health of our spines. While many of us are living healthier lives, it seems we still don’t pay attention when it comes to the little things.
What is Text Neck?
We may be getting neck pain and damaging our posture by staring down at our mobile phones all the time. According to the evidence, we pick up our phones on average 28 times a day. That may not seem a lot but it equates to 10,000 times a year.
With compulsive phone checking, many of us actually do it a lot more than this. But why is it a problem?
The reason is that we are hunching over the phone, which is a bad postural position, for a start. Texting or checking our phones means that we’re looking down all too often and that puts strain on areas like the neck. If you work in an office and are sat at a computer all day, you’re simply adding to the problem.
Indeed, there are real concerns that younger people, who have never known life without the smartphone, may be prone to neck problems later in life.
What to do About Text Neck
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the likelihood of this problem occurring. Preventative measures should include:
- Holding your smartphone at eye level. Rather than looking down all the time, simply lifting your phone a bit can make a big difference to your posture.
- It’s important to take a break from your smartphone (and your laptop and computer). Put it down and get up and walk around and stretch. At our Ealing chiropractic clinic, we’re often surprised at the number of people who seem to be permanently attached to their phones and their desks.
- If you work in an office, make sure that your computer screen is at eye level and you are not always looking down. While it’s not strictly to do with text neck, it’s the same principle.
You should also be exercising regularly to maintain your spine and neck health. The muscles surrounding these areas of your body are important for a good posture, so are your abdominal muscles. Don’t look at it as specific areas to work on but try to take regular exercise that impacts on your whole body.
Signs of Text Neck
Nearly 80% of younger people have their mobile phones with them all of the time. If you have any upper back pain, including nagging twinges or sharp muscle spasms, it could be down to poor posture or associated with text neck. You might also experience shoulder pain and if your cervical nerve becomes ‘trapped’ it can send that pain running down your arm.
Of course, these might not be down to texting at all. Most neck pain is caused by a variety of different things and it’s important to get it checked out by a suitable qualified professional such as a chiropractor for a proper diagnosis.
If you are suffering from neck or upper back problems, contact your Ealing chiropractor today to book an appointment.