• Chris Purcell

Don't let your phone be a pain in the neck

My phone is a pain in the neck!

I love technology just as much as the next person and I cannot imaging living without it, however lately I have been noticing that I am getting an increasing amount of neck pain and headaches. I literally just had physio for my neck this morning. Whilst I cannot completely blame all this on my phone and tablet use, I do think that the newly coined term "Text Neck" is contributing.

The Problem

The image below shows how looking down often or for long periods places a huge amount of strain on our necks and upper backs. The extra force from looking down causes our muscles to get tight, our joints and ligaments to get sore and over time will cause our posture to change. The result can be neck pain and headaches.

The Fix

If you think you are suffering the effects of "Text Neck" then my first tip is "don't forget the effect of gravity". We can't remove gravity but we can do some simple exercises to to reverse the effect that it is having on our spines. Here is one of my favourites. Physiotherapy can help fix the pain and give you tips and tricks on stopping text neck from becoming an ongoing problem. If you ignore it, it won't go away.

Lay longways on a foam roller as shown below (or substitute a rolled up towel or similar) and let your elbows fall towards the ground. This will use gravity to reverse some of the pressure on our necks and will provide a gentle stretch of the chest muscles as well. Having the neck muscles supported by the end of the roller will allow the neck muscles to relax. Try this for 5 minutes at the end of each day and once done, try not to use your smart device for the rest of the evening. It is also a great one to get the kids doing if they have been on the screen too long. For each 20 minutes of screen time, they need to do 5 minutes of lying on the roller.

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