Have you heard of “text neck?” It’s what happens when a person uses their smartphone so much that the natural curve of the neck changes, lurching forward to adjust for all those times a person looks down at their phone screens. Basically, people are putting increased stress on their necks thanks to looking at smartphones for hours on end everyday. Do you know what happens with text neck? More weight is put on the joints of the neck, and instead of the neck having its natural curve, it can straighten out or reverse or generally get “out of whack.” You might have text neck right now and not even realize it.
Besides looking down at smartphones and tablets, there’s also neck pain for people who sit at computers for 8+ hours daily. Think about it: sitting at a desk, staring at a screen, causes the head to come forward, the shoulders to come forward, and the muscles of a person’s neck and back to stretch. Meanwhile, the muscles of the chest are shortened and tightened. This is a recipe for disaster. Normally the head should be in line with the spine, directly over the shoulders. However, if the head is jutting forward “all day,” then weight is not evenly distributed throughout the joints.
People who look at screens for long periods of time everyday often end up at the chiropractor’s office. Because their muscles are working overtime to support the head, they tend to get neck and upper back pain.
What can be done about text neck? Well, for starters, a person could start limiting their time looking at screens. Do you really need to check your phone for ten hours a day? Probably not. Even taking little breaks from screens helps– instead of sitting in the same position for an hour without moving, get up and walk around every fifteen minutes. Move your head and neck and shoulders around to loosen them up. This helps! Tucking your chin to your chest, looking up to the ceiling and bending your head both ways down toward your shoulders are good things to do every once in awhile.
Finally, for people who suffer with chronic neck pain, a visit to the chiropractor’s office can be a godsend. Chiropractic adjustments can be made to help reduce muscular tension and restore the normal joint function.