It’s October and almost Halloween. Wanna see something scary? Check your daily screen time average in the settings app of your phone. I will wait while you do.
Did you check it? Promise? Or did you skip this step? The cool kids check it.
Okay, okay I believe you that you checked it.
… More than you thought? Me too. Now, there are plenty of physical, mental and emotional side effects to too much screen time. I am no expert in the mental and emotional pieces. Today, we will just discuss the physical.
A lot of students and adults come into our studio with very tight mid backs, upper shoulders and necks. Now, a lot of this could be helped with more ergonomic work and school set ups. But we are adding to those additional hours of strain throughout our day by constantly being on our phones at work and at home. We develop something called “text neck.”
According to the Spine Institute of Arizona…
“Text neck describes a repetitive stress injury or overuse syndrome in the neck, caused by prolonged use of mobile devices with the head bent downward and not moving. Also called tech neck, text neck is commonly associated with texting, but it can be related to many activities performed on phones and tablets while looking downward, such as surfing the web, playing games, or doing work.”
Here’s what’s crazy and why looking down at our phones take such a physical toll:
Our neck’s muscles, tendons and ligaments are designed to support our heads weight. When in a neutral position, our head weighs about 10-12 pounds. However, when looking down texting or scrolling social media, the force on our neck is between 50-60 pounds. This is fine for brief moments, but when we scroll our phones it’s rarely brief (as we learned from our screen time app). Our necks’ are not designed to withstand this force for long periods of time. Therefore we develop text neck, tight upper shoulders and tight mid backs.
The best way to start to address this and help our necks is to be on our phones less. Two things that help me are leaving my phone in a different room and keeping it on silent. Another strategy would be to hold your devices closer to eye level. Lastly, performing exercises to relieve some of the built up tightness can help. Our workouts Cervical, Thoracic and Shoulder Structural Integrity on HomeFit+ do just that (they are in the workouts > mobility > resilience section).
Apply these strategies and limit the strain on your neck! You will feel better in the long term.
You got this!