Healthy Tips & Advice

Not Sure Why You Neck Hurts? We May Have The Answer

Posted on August 3, 2016

What is your head doing right now? If you’re reading this using your phone, laptop or tablet, chances are you’re hunched over with your head tilted down. Research has found that this posture, called “text neck” can lead to bad posture and cause pain in your neck, shoulders and spine

Text neck is the term used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long.

Some common symptoms associated with Text Neck include:

  • Headaches
  • Upper back pain ranging from a chronic, nagging pain to sharp, severe upper back muscle spasms.
  • Shoulder pain and tightness, possibly resulting in painful shoulder muscle spasm.
  • If a cervical nerve becomes pinched, pain and possibly neurological symptoms can radiate down your arm and into your hand.

The average human head weighs approximately 10 pounds.  As a person tilts their head forward and downward the weight of your head allied to your cervical spine (neck) drastically increases.  As the pictures portrays, as the downward angle increases so do the stress and weight applied to a whopping 60 pounds at 60 degrees of forward tilt!  No wonder our necks and shoulders are starting to hurt all the time.

How do we combat text neck without giving up our screen time?  There are some simple exercises you can do on a regular basis to help stretch and ease the muscle pain.  These include:

  • Shoulder Blade Pinches
    This exercise will help with your upper back muscles that tend to weaken in a poor posture slouched position.

    While sitting or standing straight, pinch your shoulder blades together and back. You’ll feel the front of your shoulders roll back. Hold for a few seconds, release and repeat. Perform 10 reps every hour throughout the day.
  • Chest Stretch
    While slouching results in overstretched upper back muscles, it also leads to short and weak chest muscles. This forward flexed and rounded shoulder position also play havoc on your shoulders.

    Stand in a doorway and place your forearms against the frame of the door, with your elbows at shoulder height. Gently lean forward until you feel a stretch in your chest.  An alternative method it to lay on your back over a bolster or foam roller.  This technique will give you a greater stretch in the chest muscles.
  • Chin tucks
    Sitting up straight, place your index finger on your chin and tuck your chin all the way back towards your spine. This helps mobilize the vertebrae in your neck because they can become stuck in the forward leaning position. Repeat 10 times.

The simplest thing you can do is just look up while texting or looking at your hand held.  Remember, the more your head tilts forward the more stress on your neck.  And yes, there is even an app to help yo make sure you are using good posture while using your hand held.  Take a look at Text Neck Indicator Lite.  If you are at your desk, look at your work station to make sure it is set up properly and that you are in a sound ergonomical position.

Lastly, if the pain lingers and you don’t get relief with simple stretches, give us a call and we will be happy to take a comprehensive look at your neck and shoulders and offer more in-depth solutions.

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