Some of today’s most popular presents are smartphones. Thousands of these useful electronic tools were bestowed upon a loved one during the past couple of holidays. Many of us use them every day– a permanent companion.
“Text neck” is a term used to describe the neck pain and possible damage sustained from constantly looking down at a mobile phone, tablet, or other wireless devices for an extended period of time. The human head can easily weigh 5kg, and so when the head is bent forward to look down on an electronic device’s screen, frequently at angles of ≤60 degrees, the neck muscles have to pull five times as much. The physical leverage and gravity may increase the head’s force on the neck muscles to 25+kg. Our body’s shoulder and neck muscles have to deal with that increased weight burden, as a result of this uncomfortable position of the head. The known long-term consequences may include neck discomfort, neck pain, stiffness and headaches which may get worse over time.
Margareta Nordin, EUROSPINE President, recommends taking frequent breaks from mobile devices throughout the day, in order to relieve the head by craning one’s neck and consciously resting the head, according to a press release. Thomas Blattert, secretary of EUROSPINE adds, “symptoms of text neck must be closely observed as they become more and more relevant, because text neck predominantly affects the younger, otherwise healthy generation”. EUROSPINE thus endorses regularly exercising the neck muscles with the intent to strengthen and consequently relax the neck and back muscles.
EUROSPINE also released the following poster on the subject: