Did you know that people spend around 5 hours looking down at their phones each day? That is likely on the low end for many, especially the younger generation.

With everyone being more attached than ever to their electronic devices, everyone is also more at risk for ‘text neck’ syndrome. This refers to the overuse or repetitive stress injury caused by looking down at one’s smartphone, tablet, or e-reader for long periods of time. Your body is then placed in an unnatural position with your head leaning forward, your back slumped, and your shoulders rounded.

The more you tilt your neck, the more weight it has to carry.  An adult human head weighs between 10 and 11 pounds, so for every inch your head is tilted forward, the weight that your neck has to carry actually doubles. As you can imagine, and know from your own experience, this causes a lot of extra strain.

The key symptoms of ‘text neck’ syndrome include:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Tightness across the shoulders
  • Soreness in the neck.

What happens if this is left untreated?

  • Ligaments, nerves, and neck muscles can become inflamed
  • There is a risk of increased curvature of the spine
  • There is a risk of permanent arthritic damage

What types of changes can you make to help prevent serious problems?

  • Hold your electronic device higher, so that it is more aligned with your eyes
  • Make sure to take breaks from looking down so that you can bring your next back into it’s neutral position – at least every 15 minutes
  • Participate in activities such as pilates and yoga to help you maintain proper posture

Be sure to seek medical attention if ‘text neck’ syndrome starts interfering with your daily life. After a certain point, it will just start to get worse, so the earlier you address the problem, the better. This includes booking an appointment with your physiotherapist. Your physio can show you a number of exercises to do in order to combat this condition. Regular massage therapy can be really beneficial as well.

Located in Vancouver? Visit us at Dunbar Physio so we can get you on a path to healing and also show you what you can do to be as proactive as possible when it comes to preventing injuries.