Mobile devices can be a pain in the neck, literally. People who spend a lot of time hunched over their smart phones are at risk of “text neck,” a series of health issues that range from chronic headaches to shoulder and neck pain, Quartz recently reported.
Mobile devices multiply the amount of time that people spend leaning their heads forward and down. The average smart phone user spends about two to four hours each day hunched over their devices, Quartz reported. That’s a position that can lead to a greater risk of long-term medical problems such as nerve degeneration and reduced lung capacity.
To avoid become a statistic, here are some tips for keeping text neck at bay:
1. Don’t bend your neck to look at a screen.
Sounds obvious, but it's wroth noting that the mere position of bending your neck to look down should be avoided or limited. As the neck bends at increasingly steeper angles, the weight on the cervical spine builds rapidly--from 27 pounds at 15 degrees to 60 pounds at 60 degrees, according to research conducted by Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine. Rather than bending your neck or head to view your phone, just look down at it with your eyes.
2. Hold your mobile device at about eye level.
A simple solution is to hold the device up to your line of vision, rather than bringing one’s face down to it. In order to prevent fatigue from holding a phone at eye level for too long, try anchoring your elbows at your side.
3. Practice exercises that strengthen your posture.
Moving your head from left to right several times is an exercise that can prevent neck pain, Dr. Hansraj told TODAY in 2014. He also advises using your hands to provide resistance, pushing the head against them forward and backward.