If you've been experiencing a lot of pain in your neck, you're not alone. In general, plenty of people are experiencing sore necks because of constant texting and scrolling through Instagram.
Thanks to our constant downward gaze, our necks are bent forward too often, stuck in an unnatural position known as “text neck.”
Text neck is the damage and pain inflicted on the neck from looking down at a phone, tablet or any portable device too often. Not only does it cause soreness, but it also ruins your posture.
To seek out a way to cure text neck, I sought out the advice of three New York doctors: Dr. David Neuman, orthopedist and founder of Pop-Doc.com, physical therapist Dr. Karena Wu, owner of ActiveCare Physical Therapy and Dr. Rob Silverman, a chiropractor who is the founder of of NY Chiro Care.
Dr. Silverman had plenty of facts, informing me that a person's head weighs roughly the same as a bowling ball, 10 pounds. For every inch the head is tilted forward, it exerts an exponential amount of pressure on the spine.
He then explained bending the head just 45 degrees, the typical angle when using one's phone, exerts a force of nearly 50 pounds on the spine -- yikes.
Have some mercy on your posture and alleviate your pain by following these six important steps to reverse text neck.
Take phone-less trips.
Turn your attention upwards and try looking at the clouds and stars some more. Maybe take a nature trip and ditch the phone for a few days. The change may be the serendipity -- and neck relief -- you need.
Take stretching breaks multiple times a day.
Dr. Neuman recommends,
Take breaks and stretch to help prevent strain and pain from neck postural fatigue. Performing a routine of neck postural maintenance exercises, as part of an active lifestyle, will help keep the neck flexible, conditioned, healthy and pain-free.
Dr. Wu stresses stretching as well, saying,
I literally just had another younger patient come in with cervical spine degeneration, stenosis (narrowing) and osteophytes...he is freaked out!
Keep your posture perfect.
Stick it to pain by remembering to keep your posture upright while engaging your core, limiting any head tilting and keeping your balance. That way, you also maintain the good posture your phone threatens to take away from you.
Look at your phone horizontally.
Dr. Neuman suggests we be proactive, saying,
If you have to use your mobile device, pretend it is a desktop screen and make sure your eyes are viewing it horizontally and not looking down toward the ground. This will allow you to view it while having your neck in a more proper posture.
Do the "pigeon neck."
While it doesn't sound that attractive, this exercise can truly help.
Dr. Wu explains,
Reverse the forward and down head positioning by pulling your chin back so that your head sits back between your shoulders.
Opposite movements are key!
Try out the 'Bruegger's.'
The ultimate text neck exercise, according to Dr. Silverman, is the bruegger's.
Here's how you do the bruegger's:
Sit at the edge of your seat. Have your legs apart with your feet turned out at a 45 degree angle. Next, hang your arms loosely at your side with your palms facing forward. Sit up straight in a neutral position. Bring your head back so it's directly over your shoulders. Take about 10 deep breaths in and out. Now repeat.
Dr. Silverman suggests 20 seconds for every 20 minutes spent sitting.
Just because you're addicted to your phone doesn't mean you have to fall victim to text neck. These easy tips will keep your posture in tip-top shape and your body pain-free.
Trust me, your neck will thank you.