Five Ways to Avoid “Text Neck”

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man texting on his phone

If you’re reading this blog post from your handheld device, it’s likely you’re engaging in a serious but harmful position referred to as “text neck.”

With Ontario’s stay-at-home orders in full effect, we’re spending more and more time looking at our phones and laptops. The result? More text-neck aches and pains.

What is text neck?

Text neck is a repetitive stress injury to the neck caused by holding your head in a forward and downward position for extended periods of time. While in this position, excessive amounts of tension are created in the deep muscles of your neck and across the shoulders causing both acute and chronic neck pain.

What does text neck do to your body?

Text neck compresses and tightens the muscle, tendon, and ligament structures in front of the neck while lengthening the muscles, tendon, and ligament structures behind the neck. Since the human head weighs approximately 10 pounds, for every inch your head is tilted forward, the weight your neck has to carry doubles and the strain builds up.

But since ditching our devices isn’t really an option, we can make sure to exercise right and practice good habits to prevent the aches and pains associated with text neck.

Follow these simple tips to avoid the aches and pains that come with the digital age. Your back and neck will thank you.

1. Take a break

Holding up your phone or tablet for extended periods of time can strain the muscles in your shoulders, arms and fingers. Let your arms rest at your sides every so often.

2. The 20-20-20 rule

Give your eyes a break! Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look about 20 feet ahead (or as far as possible).

3. Change positions

Try to avoid sitting for longer than 30 minutes at a time. Get up and walk around!

4. Aim higher

Raise your phone up closer to eye level to reduce strain on your neck. When watching lectures on your tablet or laptop, be sure to prop it up against something so your shoulders and arms can relax.

5. Stretch it out

Slowly turn your head towards your left shoulder, hold for five seconds and repeat on your right side. You can also download Straighten Up Canada! — a free app developed by Canada’s chiropractors with videos of stretches you can do to help your posture in just three minutes!

The only thing that’s more important than “perfect” posture is movement. If you still have pain and discomfort after trying these tips, visit Ajax-Pickering chiropractors Dr. John Noble or Dr. Mark Fera to develop a plan to keep you pain-free.

Did You Know?

Bending your head to look at your phone can put up to 60 pounds of pressure on your spine!

pain caused by digital devices

A 2014 study in Surgical Technology International showed that even a 15-degree head tilt adds 27 pounds of pressure. As we use our phones and laptops more and more, that stress adds up!

Take care of yourself.

If you are concerned your posture is suffering due to increased time on your phone or digital device, contact the wellness team at Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage.

We provide our patients with more than just chiropractic and massage therapy services, but also the know-how to build better personal wellness habits so you can be at your best for work or play, every day.

To book an appointment or learn more about the chiropractic and therapeutic massage therapy services available at our clinic, call 905-427-3202.


With content from the Canadian Chiropractic Association.