“Text Neck” Explained
By Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Solutions Northwest, Inc. – Arcata, California
What is “Text Neck”?
Text neck refers to neck pain which occurs from looking down at a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device too frequently or for long periods of time. You don’t even have to be texting to experience the pain, you could simply be reading or using an app.
How does “Text Neck” happen?
A case study conducted by Dr. Ken Hansraj illustrates how the weight of your head can injure the neck while using a smartphone.
As Dr. Hansraj explains it to the Washington Post explains it:
The human head weighs about a dozen pounds. But as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds. …Over time, researchers say, this poor posture, sometimes called “text neck,” can lead to early wear-and-tear on the spine, degeneration and even surgery.
Ergonomics Tips to Reduce Your Risk:
- Always use good posture. Try this article for tips on how to improve your posture.
- Use the speech to text feature when possible rather than texting.
- Hold the phone high enough so that you don’t have to flex your neck forward to look at it. Holding your arms at a 60-degree angle upwards tires your shoulder muscles, so you are less likely to use your phone for as long.
- When using the smartphone to talk, use the speakerphone option or a headset.
- If you must use the phone often, try some Neck Exercises to keep your neck stretched.
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