iNeck aka TEXTneck
'Text neck' syndrome refers to repetitive stress injury from looking down at your mobile device for long periods of time.
Move over, “BlackBerry Thumb”. There’s a new tech-induced health hazard in town – 'text neck' or 'iNeck pain'.
What is 'text neck'?
A term coined by US chiropractor Dr. Dean L. Fishman, 'text neck' refers to overuse syndrome or a repetitive stress injury, where you have your head hung forward and down looking at your mobile electronic device for extended periods of time.
Indeed, as mobile technology becomes more widespread, people are spending more and more time with handheld devices like smartphones, e-readers and computer tablets. And 'text neck', which can potentially affect millions worldwide, is a growing health concern.
Symptoms of 'text neck'
When users are stuck in the unnatural posture of looking down for a prolonged period of time, it can lead to tightness across the shoulders, soreness in the neck and even chronic headaches.
That’s because the more you crane your neck, the more weight it has to carry.
When you lean your head forward away from its neutral position – when the ears and shoulders are aligned – by an inch, the weight of your head dramatically increases. If left untreated, a 'text neck' can lead to inflammation of the neck muscles, ligaments and nerves, permanent arthritic damage, as well as increased curvature in the spine. This is very prevalent in our new generation of young adults who are constantly 'connected' to their mobile devices, even while walking.”
When your body is sending you a message
The good news is that there are ways to alleviate your muscular pain and discomfort before your condition gets worse. It is possible to feel better just by making some changes to your daily posture and your lifestyle.
Here’s what you can do:
Take frequent breaks: A “text neck” is a repetitive stress injury – it can be easily prevented by taking breaks from your mobile device every 15 minutes, looking up and bringing the neck back into the neutral position. Alternatively, hold your mobile device higher so that it’s aligned with your eyes and your neck muscles are not so taxed.
Embrace posture-focused exercises: Do exercises like yoga and Pilates, which focus your attention on attaining the right posture. You will become more aware of the way you use your mobile devices in this way.