What is ‘Text Neck’ and How Do I Avoid It?

 

Neck pain is a growing problem with the infiltration of technological advances: resulting in increased incidents of neck pain and injuries and wreaking havoc to people’s quality of life.

 

It has been widely accepted for some time now the increased health risk of desk jobs resulting in prolonged sitting, but the damage doesn’t stop there. The practice of staring at a mobile phone or tablet is becoming so commonplace that even children are often encouraged by parents to “play games” on a handheld device exposing them to the dangers of “text neck” from a very young age.

‘Text Neck’ and neck pain are becoming more prevalent due to technology, however many neck injuries can be avoided or managed with proactive interventions.

Dr Carter has published X-rays which show the disturbing spinal curvature he claims is created from device usage.

Dr Carter has published X-rays which show the disturbing spinal curvature he claims is created from device usage.

 

What is ‘Text Neck’?

 

Text neck refers to the partially flexed neck position that our handheld devices have caused us to regularly adopt.

Sustained neck flexion will result in a muscular imbalance whereby the muscles on the front of the neck develop dominance over the muscles on the posterior aspect (back) of the neck. With computers, TV’s and now phones drawing our attention to the front of our body, we need to be aware and actively counter balancing to avoid any neck injuries resulting from the anterior muscular dominance.

 

How Do I Prevent and Manage Text Neck?

 

  1. Avoid High Risk Situations – Every individual has their own unique “high risk situations” for poor neck posture. Some of the most common ones when neck posture is compromised include: texting, using mobile apps, using the computer, reading, driving etc.)
  1. Take Regular Breaks – Try to avoid looking at your phone or handheld device for a long consecutive block of time. Look up from time to time to give your neck a break.
  1. Actively Strengthen The Posterior Neck Muscles – It’s always important to seek individualised exercise advice with regards to neck strengthening due to the intricate nature of the neck anatomy. Posterior neck muscles are less often activated during activities of daily living so taking some time out to counteract the effects of handheld devices is vital.
  1. Be Proactive – Neck pain does not discriminate, even the strongest, most active people rarely give their neck enough attention. If you think you are at risk of neck pain or injury take some time to stretch and strengthen the neck musculature to prevent complications down the line.

 

Remember: Awareness of neck position, high risk situations and appropriate strengthening/stretching exercises can prevent many neck issues.

For more information on exercise to ease neck and back pain, consult your local Accredited Exercise Physiologist.

 

Hany Georgy is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Director at Activate Clinic.

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