The increasing use of smartphones and tablets is causing more people to suffer from back pain and neck pain says Alison Eaves a Leeds Chiropractor.
“Text neckâ€ is a term originally used by a California Chiropractor to describe the pain associated with overuse of smartphones and tablets associated with poor posture. Often these handheld devices cause us to end up in a position whereby the head comes forward and the shoulders become rounded. This puts additional pressure on the joints, muscles and ligaments of the neck, shoulders and back and can lead to pain and stiffness.
As humans we have evolved to move in an upright posture and so the weight of the head should be directly downwards through the spine. Sitting in a slouched posture and using these devices causes the weight of the head to be spread through the joints in an uneven manner, placing them under additional strain. The result can be neck pain, headaches and shoulder and back pain. Often this continues for many months at a low level and becomes a chronic (long term) problem.
“I am definitely seeing more and more patients in their late teens and early twenties coming to see me as a chiropractor, complaining of neck and shoulder pain. In many cases this is caused by poor posture and excessive use of smartphones and more recently iPad’s and other tabletsâ€.
“People get so caught up and focused using mobile phones and electronic devices that they don’t realise that they are holding their neck and upper back in abnormal positions for prolonged periods of time. If you keep on doing this for months or years then it is likely to increase the stress on the neck and shoulders and could lead to joint or disc problems in the futureâ€
What can be done to prevent “text neck?â€
Try to ensure you are sitting in an upright position with the spine straight and the shoulders pulled back. This will help to bring the head and neck back in line with the spine. Aim to maintain good posture when using a smartphone or tablet.
If you find yourself hunched up over your smartphone or tablet then get up and move. You should always be aiming to change your position every 15 to 20 minutes anyway to prevent muscle fatigue and muscle strains.