La-Femme ( Heads Up ) – In today’s fast paced world, digital forms of communication are gaining pace over conventional methods. While most people use cell phones for varied reasons, chances are that slouching to a mobile phone can lead to several disorders.
“Recently, I visited a patient who complained of severe upper back pain. He woke up and was experiencing severe, acute, upper back muscle strain. While nothing had changed in his daily lifestyle, he confessed using his mobile phone longer as compared to the past few months. It was clear that the pain was due to the long hours he spent hunching over his cell phone. He was diagnosed with Text Neck Syndrome,” said Dr. Asha Thomas, Medical Director for Doctor on Call who serves as a specialist with Doctor On Call – a 24/7 Medical Services company that provides healthcare services at homes and hotels.
Text Neck Disease or Syndrome is a modern term used to describe repeated stress injury and pain in the neck as a result of excessive watching or texting on hand-held devices over a long period. It has been observed that people spend approximately five hours every day looking at their phones and that can lead to some serious text-neck aches and pains. Researchers at Harvard Medical Health predict that 7 out of 10 people will experience neck aches at some point in their lives.
Looking down all the time 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. This is what causes the neck pain and soreness.
While ditching digital devices isn’t really an option,Dr. Asha Thomas suggestspracticing good habits to prevent the aches and pains associated with text neck.
Raise the Phone to your Eye:Move the cell phone to eye level, so the head doesn’t have to be tilted.
Use the Phone in Breaks: Spend some time away from the phone and ensure that you keep changing positions when texting, such that pressure doesn’t build in one area.
Maintain a correct posture: It is very essential to maintain a good posture, while sitting and standing to keep the neck in line with the trunk.
Treat Yourself to a Neck Exercise: Neck and shoulder exercises help to improve muscle stamina and strengthen the neck muscle. Practice levator stretches to provide relief to your neck.
Stay Fit. A strong, flexible back and neck are able to handle extra stress than an unfit body. Eat a balanced diet and ensure that you follow a healthy lifestyle.
“The bottom line is avoid looking down with your head bent forward for extended periods throughout the day. Be mindful of your posture. Any activity which is prolongedcan negativelyaffectthe parts of your body. Be careful and make informed choices,” concluded Dr. Asha.
While most people waive off text neck syndrome as not dangerous, experts suggest that if the pain continues, it is important to consult a spine specialist and not try any self-medication. Specialists can prescribe pain medication and inject medicine into the facet joint or trigger point for relief from painful text neck.