It’s called ‘text neck’ – a typical texting stance: head down, hand holding the phone up, replying back to a text or reading your latest updates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
A recent study found that people spend an average of two to four hours a day with their head tilted forward over their phones and devices. When we break that down, that’s 700-1400 hours a year of excess stresses to our cervical spine and that doesn’t include our work, school and everyday posture.
How many times do you check your phone or other gadgets in a day? Every morning, when you get to work, lunch breaks, after work and before bed?
Are you now thinking this may be the cause or contributing cause to your sore neck?
A 2014 study found that with the human head weighing between 4.5 and 5.5kg, adding a 60 degree tilt (which is the position our head moves to when we are texting) creates a 27kg strain through our neck. (Hansraj, 2014)
Straining the neck can cause many issues – migraines, headaches and poor posture. One of the most common stances for poor posture occurs when the head is tilted forward and our shoulders are slouched forward.
The cervical spine has seven vertebrae and has a natural backward ‘C’ shape much like our lumbars. When we are constantly in this poor ‘texting’ position, what can happen is muscle strain from stretched muscles being held in a position for too long, pinched nerves and over a course of time, a loss in the natural curve further adding stress to our cervical spine. These stresses may possibly lead to early wear and tear, degeneration of the discs and in severe conditions, surgery.
While you can say it’s merely impossible to stay away from technology as it is ever evolving, there are actions that can be taken to avoid these neck issues from arising. One would be to view your phone with your spine in a neutral position and avoid spending hours in the day hunched over the phone.
There are other factors throughout daily life which can most definitely affect your posture and tension through the neck – one being work – but by correcting your texting position this can help reduce your risk of neck pain.
No one wants a back like the hunchback of Notre Dame, no one wants ‘text neck’!
Hanraj, K 2014, Assessment of stressed in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and Position of the Head
Davies, M 2014, Have YOU got text neck? How hunching over your phone puts 60lbs of extra pressure on the spine, The Daily Mail, 19 November, viewed 24 November 2014,
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