With the advanced technology allowing us to constantly connected using smart phones, tablets, laptops, no matter where you are. People of all ages can develop ‘Text Neck’, a repetitive stress injury that caused by inappropriate posture resulting in neck, upper back, headaches as well numbness and tingling of the arms and fingers.
Research(1) shows that 91% of people text with their neck bended. Staying neck bending down position for a long time repetitively throughout a day, while carrying handphone, or Ipad, will subject our neck’s vertebra and disc to lots of pressure. According to another research carried out in 2011, 53% of young adults suffer from neck, and back pain that associated with usage of computer and handphones. In another preliminary study done in 2009, the prevalence of pain and neck pain during texting is 83%.
No doubt these technologies have become integral part of our life, we are spending more and more times looking at our mobiles or computers, it is important for us to learn the correct and ergonomic beneficial way to use it.
Steps to reduce text neck pain:
- Hold your phone up when you text or play games, instead of looking down. Position it at a proper reading angle, directly in front of your mouth at a comfortable viewing distance, a few inches across from your chin. This allows you to avoid strain because you can look at the screen by gazing down with your eyes rather than bending your neck. Your shoulders should also feel relaxed when you are interacting with the screen. If they’re not, adjust your position.
- Voice command. If your phone’s texting app has a dictation program, use it – again, holding the phone in front of your mouth.
- Take frequent, regular breaks. Excessive use is a key factor in text neck, so avoid prolonged bouts of texting, gaming, surfing or reading emails. If you tend to lose track of time while using your smartphone or lack the self-control to put it down, download a timer app (eg: workpace) and set it to remind you to take a break after 5, 10 or 15 minutes.
- Support your range of motion. When you take time to exercise something other than your texting thumbs, focus on movements that strengthen your neck, back extensors, rhomboids and latissimus dorsi muscles.
- Stretch the tight muscles. Neck, upper trapezius, upper back, chest, fingers muscles are commonly tighter if you text for a long time.
- Stay hydrated. Proper hydration all day long eases stress throughout the body, from your neck down.
- Communicate with other way. Leave a voicemail, send an email from your (hopefully ergonomically correct) desktop computer, or better yet, get together in person to share a cup of coffee, with your phones safely stowed away.
- Get rid of your neck and shoulder pain. It is wrong to think that pain is a normal ageing process.
If you have tried to improve your workstation posture and not helping, then it is time to seek professional help with one of our experienced physiotherapists.
Take ACTION now. Physioclinic will help you beat technology related pain.
- Postures, typing strategies, and gender differences in mobile device usage: An observational study. Applied Ergonomic, Volume 43, Issue 2, March 2012.
- Physical symptoms in young adults and their use of different computers and mobile phone. International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics (JOSE) 2011, Volume 17, No. 4, 361-371
- Psychophysiological Patterns During Cell Phone Text Messaging: A Preliminary Study. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, March 2009, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 53-57