Text neck is a relatively new term, coined from the bent over position we find ourselves in while texting and the resulting pain it causes. The neck is a wonderful thing. It supports the weight of the head which on average is about 10 pounds.
However, that’s with the head in the position it should be, straight on top of the shoulders when standing. When the neck bends forwards and downwards, the law of gravity increases the weight of your head. A study published in the journal ‘Surgical Technology International’ showed that if you leaned forward by just 15 degrees the head weight feels more like 27 pounds.
A 45-degree angle and the head weight feels like 49 pounds, and with a 60 degree angle forward – common when texting or browsing the web on your smart device – and your head feels like 60 pounds! That means your neck is having to cope with an extra 50 pounds of weight – that’s a 500% increase. No wonder our necks are suffering!
Why is text neck so bad?
It’s true, looking down isn’t a new thing. We’ve been looking down to read for years. However, never before have we looked down for such long periods as we do since we could text, email and surf the web from our smart devices. In fact, according to a study from IDC, 79% of respondents had their phone on or near them for all but up to 2 hours of their waking day.
Preventing text neck
We aren’t asking you to give up your phone, but we are asking you to make some simple changes:
- Keep your phone at eye level. The more you can avoid looking down and increasing the angle of your neck (which as we know increases the weight of the head) the less you’ll strain your neck
- Take frequent breaks. Prolonged neck flexion is much worse than short bouts
- Practice good posture. Stand up straight with your shoulder blades pulled back
- Keep healthy. Stretch your back and neck regularly.
The neck is one of the most common areas of complaint we treat at Bryn Mawr Wellness. If you are feeling any sort of discomfort, then please book an appointment so we can assess what’s going on. We can then use the appropriate technique to get you back up to full health. We’ll also show you a range of stretches to help you keep that way.