“Text neck” has joined “distracted walking” and “texting while driving” as a buzz phrase to describe a health threat that has emerged with smartphone technology. We have tips to help you protect your neck with proper posture while you text.
We no longer have to resist the desire to stay in touch—now we carry our phones, and our world, with us everywhere. But we’ve increased our contact with the world at the expense of our neck health. Text Neck describes pain from our ever increasing cell phone use.
The rise of text neck
Looking down at our phones is changing the curvature of our upper spine in unhealthy ways. Frequent texters are experiencing neck pain and headaches as they spend hours with their heads bent over their smartphones. Over time, hunched texting posture puts increased pressure on the cervical spine and can lead to premature disc degeneration. These problems are often referred to as text neck. We’ve got tips to help you keep your head up and your spine healthy.
Easy changes to help ease pain
- Be aware of your posture. Do a mental check as you stand and sit. Are you holding your head erect with your ears positioned over your shoulders? Are your shoulder blades retracted, or are your shoulders hunched? Check your position in a mirror—or in your camera phone photos—and make perfect posture your goal.
- Limit device time, and take breaks. Monitor your level of comfort; as soon as you begin to feel uncomfortable, change your position. Take frequent breaks—every 20 to 30 minutes—to move and stretch. Remind yourself to lift your sternum and tuck your chin in. This simple adjustment puts your head and your upper spine back into proper position.
- Hold your device at eye level. Remind yourself not to tilt your neck to text. Try sitting with your back and head against a wall with your knees bent, and text with your phone on your knees while you maintain the natural curve of your spine with your head erect.
- There’s an app for that. Investigate one of the Text Neck Indicator or Watch Your Neck apps; they will signal you when you are holding your device upright at eye level, and warn you when you are tilting your device too far back.
- Use your phone’s voice-activated features instead of texting. Keep your head held high and use Siri or Voice Search to talk instead of texting for the information you need.
- Incorporate exercises to keep your neck strong and flexible. Exercises designed to strengthen your neck muscles and keep them flexible are a great place to start. In addition, the core muscles in your abdomen and lower back also support your upper body. An exercise program that combines core and neck strengthening with neck stretches for flexibility is ideal.
If you are looking for specific exercises to maintain neck and spine health, or if you have concerns about neck pain that may be related to text neck, our Summit Orthopedics spine team will be happy to evaluate you and teach you how to protect your neck while enjoying all of the benefits of wireless technology.
Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive spine expertise
Our back specialists diagnose spine problems and design custom treatment plans built on a conservative, nonsurgical approach. Most patients find relief through treatments including guided injections, specialized physical therapy, biofeedback, exercise, activity modification, and medication. When conservative care does not relieve symptoms, our highly skilled surgeons offer proven, evidence-based surgical options. Together with you, we will determine the right course of action.
Start your journey to a healthy spine. Find your spine expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a spine consultation.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
Spine related resources
- Visit our Spine Exercise Library for options to help ease neck and back pain
- See Summit’s treatment options for neck, back, and spine care
- Check out additional information on Summit’s approach to spine care