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Is Texting a Pain in Your Neck?

By Krista Elliott

Love them or hate them, smartphones are here to stay (until the next new thing is invented, anyway). Those of us who use smartphones extensively depend on them to get our news, our weather, our email, our connections with friends, and our entertainment. We use them to text our loved ones, play games, listen to music, and share photos of, well ... everything

But, is your phone habit wreaking havoc on your muscles and spine? Do you have ... text neck? 

Text Neck? What is THAT?

Text neck is a term coined by healthcare professionals to describe the pain in the upper back and tight shoulders that have been epidemic as of late. It's caused by looking down too often and for too long. And it doesn't just hurt; it can also cause permanent spinal and muscle damage and pain, especially in teenagers or children whose spines are still developing — and who are rather renowned for being permanently attached to their phones. 

So Do I Have to Stop Using My Phone?

There's no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater (just don't let your baby have a phone, please). Text neck can be prevented and treated in a variety of ways. The first step is a visit to The Joint Chiropractic, for a spinal examination and the adjustment of any misaligned vertebrae or joints. In conjunction with regular chiropractic care, you can follow these helpful tips, to keep your neck healthy. 

  • Keep your screen at eye level as much as possible. Yes, it's a bit more work on the arms if you're standing, but it helps to keep your neck and spine in a much healthier position and prevents muscle strain and damage. 
  • Take frequent breaks. If you have to, set a timer for every 30 minutes to remind you to put down the phone for a few minutes, lift up your head, and do some gentle neck stretches. 
  • Practice good posture. If your standing and seated posture are good, your body is kept in a neutral position, which helps reduce any additional strain on your spine and neck muscles.
  • Change your position. If you're at home and using your phone, after your periodic breaks, switch your position so that you're not always using the exact same muscles in the exact same way. 
  • Switch it up. If you're at home and checking social media or puttering around online, use your home computer instead of your phone. Just make sure your screen is at eye level and that you're sitting in a supportive chair. 

Despite what your mom tells you, you don't need to stop using your smartphone. You just have to be smart about it, to enjoy a happy and healthy back and neck for a lot longer. 

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