According to data from the Pew Research Center, 90 percent of adults in the U.S. own a cell phone, and more than 80 percent use their phones for texting. Sixty percent say they use their phones to access the Internet, including sending and receiving email, downloading apps and playing games. That’s a lot of time spent looking down at screens – and it doesn’t even take into account the amount of time spent looking down at a laptop or tablet.
But while having the Internet at the tip of your fingers may seem convenient, all that head-bending causes a lot of strain on your neck and upper back muscles. In fact, this type of neck strain is so common; it’s gained the nickname of “text neck” among medical practitioners.
The symptoms range from dull aching in the neck and shoulders to sharp, shooting pain, and unless you get some relief, the pain can become a chronic part of everyday living. If you’ve been experiencing pain in your neck due to excessive use of a mobile device, here’s what you can do to get some relief:
- Pay attention to your posture. Take a moment to sit up straight; you’ll probably be surprised how much you’re slouching. Sitting up straight redistributes your body’s weight and relieves muscle strain.
- Take frequent breaks. If you’re using your mobile device for work, to watch a video or for another prolonged activity, set it aside every 20 minutes or so to stretch your muscles.
- Change the position of your device. Instead of holding it below your chin, hold it at eye level when you can to avoid constant bending.
- Do some neck exercises. Try dropping your head gently to your chest and then rolling it from side to side to stretch cramped muscles.
Neck pain can be treated, but for quickest results, you need to treat it early. If you’re experiencing neck pain, call Microsurgical Spine at (800) 890-1964 today to schedule an evaluation.