Think about the last time you checked your phone. Was it an hour ago? A few minutes ago? Are you reading this on your phone right now?
Chances are, you’ve looked at it at least 10 to 20 times today so far. Actually, most people look at their phones 80 or more times every day. And while looking at your phone to text or email, check Facebook or Instagram, or surf the web isn’t a crime, it may be causing inadvertent damage to your health — namely, neck pain.
The Main Culprit: Texting
Today more than ever, texting is a main form of communication. Going to be late to the party? Send a text. Just saw a funny meme online? Send a text. Not sure which laundry detergent to buy? Send a text.
This form of communication may seem benign in terms of posture, neck pain, and your overall health (after all, how long does it really take to send off a few words?), but the fact that it’s so frequent is what really creates the issues.
Looking at your phone all the time to text (and do other things) flexes your head and puts stress on the spine. When your head and neck are at a neutral angle and you are standing straight and tall, your neck is at 0 degrees. But as you flex your head forward to see and use the phone that is in your hands near your stomach and chest, your spine is forced to hold that weight.
A typical adult head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds, but as your move your head forward to 15 degrees, that weight or _force on the spine _increases. At 15 degrees forward, your head is actually putting 27 pounds of pressure on your spine. At 30 degrees, you have 40 pounds of force on your spine. And at 60 degrees forward (not uncommon if you’re looking straight down at the phone in your hands), you’re putting 60 pounds of force on your spine.
Fixing the Problem
As you can see, often the neck pain Bayonne, Jersey City, or Hoboken residents experience may be caused directly by the way you interact with your phone. But there’s good news: you can change your habits and thusly change your neck pain — for the better. All it takes is the implementation of a few new phone-using habits:
Start by lifting your phone.
The neck pain Jersey City, Bayonne, or Hoboken residents experience often comes from constant texting because the act _flexes _the neck at an extreme angle. This puts compound weight and stress on your spine. By reducing this angle of stress, you can reduce your neck pain. This means simply lifting your phone to be closer to eye level. It may look odd, but it works.
Take phone breaks — the longer, the better.
Naturally, if you need your phone for your job or to keep in touch with family or friends, it’s a great tool to use. But when you can, take breaks from looking at your phone. Put it in a drawer when needed or in the other room to help yourself adopt this new habit.
Implement stretching and movement into your day.
Every once in a while, reach up to the sky with your arms and arch your back. Do some head circles with your neck, and give your shoulders a good stretch too. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even do some toe touching exercises and get down on the floor a few times today to do other simple stretches. It may seem like a little, but it can do a great deal for the way your neck feels.
Do we really need to have _one more reason _to recommend regular exercise? Maybe not, but still, it simply cannot be stressed enough: regular exercise is essential for maintaining quality spine health. If you stay fit with light to medium cardio and some weekly strength training, it may help keep your neck, back, and shoulder muscles strong and reduce pain.
The Spine & Sports Health Center Treats Neck Pain
Most all of the neck pain Hoboken, Jersey City, and Bayonne residents experience can be treated at The Spine & Sports Health Center. At our three locations throughout Hudson County, New Jersey, we treat all types of neck and back pain issues through the use of physical therapy and rehab, pain management, acupuncture, and chiropractic. Our board-certified physicians were trained at top institutions in northern New Jersey and New York City.
These experts and specialists will meet with you to diagnose your neck pain at your initial consultation appointment, then design a personalized treatment plan for you using the various forms of treatments that our offices offer. Our goal is to reduce and ideally eliminate your neck pain for good without resorting to surgery or the use of harsh medications.
If you would like more information on neck pain and how it can be treated, we welcome you to contact us by phone at (201) 535-2474 or fill out our simple contact form and someone will get back with you shortly.