Did you know? Your head weighs 10-12 pounds….every few degrees we lean forward, thats a few more pounds of strain on our spine. This means when you’re looking down at your phone (which is about 60 degrees of motion)…you are loading your spine with 60 extra pounds!!!
IF you are in this position for too long, you can develop “text neck”…which is the pain and achiness you may feel after having your head and neck hunched over for too long. So why is this so important?
After many hours of being in this position, it can lead to many long term problems, including:
Having a “hunched” spine or bad posture – This is especially important in this day and age, since kids start using devices as early as 2 years old! When the spine is in a curved, bent head position for hours on end, and we do this on a daily basis, the muscles surrounding our spine will learn to adapt to this position, resulting in poor posture as we get older.
Neck pain-when the neck muscles are pulled on, they become weak, and this can lead to pain.
Headaches–when those muscles in the upper neck and back become tight, it can refer pain into the head causing headaches.
Shoulder pain–if you’re hunched over for a long period of time, this can impinge the rotator cuff muscles, leading to shoulder pain and inflammation.
Tightness and weakness of chest and pectoral muscles-As we sit or are in one position for an extended period of time, this tightens up our chest muscles, and ultimately weakens them. It also creates a pull in the muscles in the upper back, also creating weakness there. So, to stop this from happening, it’s important to move and change positions every 20 minutes or so. Simply squeeze your shoulder blades together, and this will put you in a more upright position, helping to stretch those chest muscles.
So what should you do to get relief from text neck?
*Evaluate your work/study set up ….make sure you’re well supported in your chair, and change positions often, whether it’s sitting at a different angle or standing every hour. Standing desks work great!
*Limit your time on devices, and change the position so its at eye level in order to minimize the strain on your neck.
*Move hourly, get up from sitting….the important thing is to change your positions.
*Most importantly, do some exercises to make your postural and neck muscles stronger, so that they can withstand the activities that you do throughout the day. The stronger your muscles around your spine are, the less strain on your spine…which ultimately leads to less or no pain!!
Hope this is helpful. Stay tuned for more tips to prevent aches and pains! Feel free to reach out to me with any questions!
Cheers to your health,
Shaheen Siddiqui, MSPT