Yesterday I had my first Zoom call, though it could have been MS Teams, Google Meet, Webex etc., and though it was great ‘seeing’ people, at the end of the call my neck was in major discomfort.
Instead of being tied to our computer, laptop, or tablet, we are using our phones to do everything. Whereas the previous technology (PC, laptop) was built for desktop use and proper posture, phones give us everything but, resulting in neck strain, headache, shoulder pain and possible early disc degeneration in the cervical spine. OUCH.
When you have good posture, there is a normal curvature to the cervical spine that looks like the letter C. Your ears are in line with your shoulder and your scapula (shoulder blades) are pulled back into a neutral position. If you consider that the head weighs 10 – 12 pounds, having good posture helps prevents neck pain, because when the head is flexed forward, the strain on the neck increases. For example, when your head is flexed forward 30º (just as when you’re looking down at your phone), your head puts 38 pounds of strain on your neck. At 60º, the strain on the neck increases to 60 pounds. That’s extra, and potentially damaging, stress on your cervical spine.
Here are some suggestions to easily prevent/treat text neck strain:
- Use your mobile phone at eye level.
- Limit on-screen time to 20 minutes, then take a break.
- Use the talk-to-text function.
- Do chin tuck exercises, where you feel a gentle stretch.
- Do head side-bend stretches, where you feel a gentle stretch.
We can’t get away from technology because it is everywhere, but we can avoid the pain associated with it. If you do experience discomfort, at least now you’ll have options available to help address it instead of hoping it goes away.