In the world we live today, kids to teens from ages 8 to 18 spend over 7.5 hours a day, 7 days a week engaging with online media. Alarmingly, this is more time than they spend with any other one activity, sometimes even more than sleeping! Since the introduction of smart phones, the prevalence of young adults seeing a chiropractor with complains of neck pain has increased dramatically. What was once referred to as an “old mans” condition, is now a lot more common in younger people.
As illustrated in the diagram, the amount of load increases each time you hold your head in a flexed position for a period of time. Be it looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless device too frequently and for too long, these create a strain on your neck, resulting in a now all too common condition called “Text neck”. Over time, researchers say this poor posture can lead to early wear-and-tear of and cause permanent damage to your cervical spine resulting in lifelong neck pain. The good news is that you don’t need to suffer from this. There are so many ways to avoid this just by making a few changes to your posture:
- Keep your head up! We are created to look straight ahead. It is better for your arms to tire out rather than your neck to bear the load, so bring the phone/tablet to eye level with your head. If your arms do tire out, it’s your body’s way of telling you that you’re spending way too much time on your device.
- Spend less time on phone or laptop. There are many other ways to entertain yourself without the use of smart phones or laptops. Picking up a sport/activity, or spending time with family and friends.
- If you work in an office or at home needing the use of a desktop/laptop, make sure your eyes are level with the middle of the screen. If it isn’t, then raise or elevate the screen up so that you are looking straight at the screen, rather than down at it!
At the end of the day, technology should accommodate to your posture rather than your posture accommodate to technology. It is easy to make quick lifestyle/habit changes when it comes to handheld devices/laptops as the rewards are multi fold. Saves you pain and money!
On the contrary, injured necks and poor posture takes time and many treatment sessions to reverse the damage done. Make the right decisions today for better spinal health! Good luck!