The New Epidemic: Text Neck
KEEP YOUR HEAD UP!
In the early 2000s, it was carpal tunnel syndrome. Now a brand new technology-induced
ailment is plaguing America’s population: text neck. Sustained through
extended daily use of wireless devices, text neck is estimated to affect
as much as 79% of the adult population.
Countless cell phone users who spend a great amount of time hunched over
their devices checking email, texts and phone calls are now complaining
of severe upper back pain, chronic headaches and spine curvature. Caused
by improper support of the head and poor posture, text neck can lead to
severe degeneration. “It also causes pain in the shoulders, hands,
arms, and numbness and/or tingling feeling in the arms,” says Torrance
Memorial Medical Center physical therapist Yolande Mavity, PT, MPT, GCS,
LSVT. “Poor posture can also affect balance, causing cervicogenic
Do the health risks caused by mediocre posture outweigh the benefits of
technological convenience? Since smartphone users spend about 2 to 4 hours
(teenagers even more) on their cellular devices, the debate is only intensifying.
In fact, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 8- to 18-year-olds
devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes a day to entertainment media.
That’s more than 53 hours a week.
“Watch your children from an early age and introduce good posture
as a habit,” says Mavity. “Low- and mid-back should be supported
with a chair; put a pillow on lap or sit at a table to bring iPad or iPhone
closer to your head, not bringing your head closer to your device.”
To ensure cervical spine health, refrain from bending the neck or hunching
over to look at your device—your eyes can do the work just fine.
Additionally, try neck and back strengthening exercises that focus heavily
on posture and core strengthening, such yoga and Pilates. You can also
try these stretches at home:
www.tinyurl.com/TMMCergo. To ensure neck mobility, it’s integral to cervical spine health
to engage in light stretching a few times a day, especially after a long
stint at the computer or bent over a cell phone. Reap the benefits of
having the world at your fingertips—but keep your head up!
Did you know Torrance Memorial offers yoga and Pilates classes? For more
torrancememorial.org/classes or call 310-517-4711.
Health Links,Health Tip