It is a known fact that poor posture can lead to health issues such as chronic pain in the back, neck, and knees, as well as circulation problems, heartburn, and digestive problems. Cell phones are something that most Americans use daily which can be leading to poor posture resulting in back and neck pain. According to WebMD, “American adults spend an average of more than 3.5 hours on their smartphones every day, meaning they may be looking down or slouching for long periods of time.” Do you find yourself slouched while using your smartphone? It could be the cause of your back and neck pain.
What is Text Neck?
If you are the owner of a smartphone or a handheld device, chances are you are guilty of text neck. Defined by Healthline, text neck means your head is forward, shoulders rounded, and back slumped. With the number of hours most people spend looking at their phones daily, it’s easy to see why some suffer from serious text neck aches and pains.
So, what exactly does text neck do to our bodies? It compresses and tightens the muscle, tendon, and ligament structures in front of the neck while simultaneously lengthening them behind the neck. What do we do about this? For most, getting rid of our devices is not an option. However, there are ways to prevent aches and pains associated with text neck.
Tips to Prevent Text Neck
- Hold Your Phone Differently: You want to be sure that when holding your phone, you are not holding a forward-head posture for a prolonged period of time. The human head weighs 10 pounds and for every inch your head is tilted forward, the weight your neck has to carry doubles. Bring the screen to eye level so that your head is not slouched forward or too high. To maintain good posture, keep a neutral spine to keep your ears in line with your shoulders.
- Take a Break from Your Phone: Make a conscious effort to take breaks away from your phone. Go as far as setting alarms or reminders so that you don’t forget to take a rest. Even just a few minutes each hour can make a big impact on the way your neck and back feel overall.
- Try Yoga: Yoga does a world of good for helping to treat and prevent neck and back pain because it helps improve movement patterns, increases body awareness, and incorporates breathwork.
Yoga Exercises to Combat Text Neck
- Downward-Facing Dog: Begin on all fours. Tuck your toes and lift your hips high, reaching your hip bones toward the ceiling. Next, reach your heels back toward the mat but don’t let them plank on the ground. Then, drop your head so that your neck is long. As you stay there, make sure that your wrist creases stay parallel to the front edge of the mat. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths, then release.
- Chin Tuck: Sit up tall in a chair and keep your chin parallel to the floor. Without tilting your head in any direction, gently draw your head and chin back like you are making a double chin. You should feel a stretch along the back of your neck. Imagine that there is a string pulling your head upward like a puppet and actively elongating your neck. Actively push the base of your skull away from the base of your neck. Keep your jaw relaxed and hold this position for 3 deep breaths. Release your chin forward and repeat.
- Bow Pose: Lie flat on your stomach with your chin on the floor and your hands resting on either side of you. Bend your knees and bring your heels as close to your buttocks as you can. Next, reach backward with both hands and grab onto your outer ankles. As you inhale, lift your heels up toward the ceiling so that your chest, thighs, and upper torso lift up off the mat. Hold this position for 10 breaths. Release on exhale by slowly lowering your thighs, and then the rest of your body, to the ground.
Total Chiropractic Care and Wellness Can Help
If you think you are suffering from back or neck pain due to your smartphone or device usage, be sure to reach out to us here at Total Chiro. Regular adjustments will help keep your spine strong and your ligaments relaxed! Let us help keep your back and neck free from pain. Contact us today.