Doctors and health experts are warning people about “text neck,” an overuse syndrome or a repetitive stress injury to the neck caused by holding your head in a forward and downward position for extended periods of time. The phrase was coined by Dr. Dean L. Fishman, D.C., a licensed chiropractor from Florida.
Even if you’ve never heard of text neck, chances are you’ve already felt it. It’s that tight and slightly painful feeling that creeps up your neck and back after staring downwards for too long. If you ride the train when you commute to work, you can see dozens of people with their heads down, eyes fixed on their phones.
“Looking down promotes a forward head posture. For every inch forward that you hold your head, the weight carried down through the spine increases by 10 pounds,” says Dr. Karena Wu, a physical therapist and the owner of ActiveCare Physical Therapy in New York City, during an interview with NBC News. “Looking down puts pressure on the front of the neck and gaps the back. This is especially troublesome as it can cause intervertebral discs to migrate backward, thereby increasing chances of disc bulges.”
Dr. Fishman recommends these four exercises to relieve text neck. “The key component is pulling the shoulder blades back and down and holding them that way while doing the exercises.”
Little changes like holding your phone or book up while reading can decrease the chances of you getting text neck. And, of course, regular exercise to improve your posture.
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