Pokemon Go is wrecking your neck and back, there’s actually a name for it, it’s called Text Neck. Text neck is a new term being used to describe neck and back pain and damage caused by looking down at a smartphone or tablet.
For the past few years I’ve experience neck, shoulder and middle back pain and have tried an endless number of things to try and fix it. I also noticed that I was beginning to develop a slight “hump” where my neck met my shoulders. As an otherwise fit and healthy guy, the last thing I wanted was to be a humpback.
For a long time the cause alluded me, until I found out about “Text neck,” and realized that I not only spent a lot of time looking down at my phone but also spent most of my time at work looking down at computers. It turns out that the angle at which most of us look at our phones places an additional 60-lbs of stress on our neck muscles and that wreaks havoc on our bodies.
What Symptoms are Associated with Text Neck?
Text neck most commonly causes neck pain and soreness. In addition, it can cause:
- Upper back pain ranging from a chronic, nagging pain to sharp, severe upper back muscle spasms.
- Middle back pain, burning or numbness and tightness.
- Shoulder pain and tightness, possibly resulting in painful shoulder muscle spasm.
- If a cervical nerve becomes pinched, pain and possibly neurological symptoms can radiate down your arm and into your hand.
- Some studies even suggest that text neck may lead to chronic problems due to early onset of arthritis in the neck.
How to Prevent Text Neck
Prevention is the most important step in eliminating text neck. Here are a few pieces of advice for preventing the development or worsening of text neck:
- Always hold your cell phone at eye level. In fact, keep all screens at eye level. Bring the device to you, don’t bend your neck to accommodate the positioning of your phone or computer.
- Take frequent breaks from your phone and computer throughout the day, get up and walk around.
- If you work with a computer all day make sure your screen is set up so that when you sit up straight and naturally look straight forward your eyes fall in the center of the screen.
- Make a conscious effort to improve your posture throughout the day. Set a timer for every 15 minutes if you have to. Pull your shoulders back and down and sit up straight.
How to Fix Text Neck
Rehabilitation of text neck is hard work but very important for cutting out neck and back pain.
- First and foremost, you need to have strong core muscles, abdominal and lower back muscles support your upper body, including your neck.
Master the Chin Tuck
The chin tuck has been the most helpful exercise on my path to fixing text neck. It’s easy to perform and improvement can be seen in a week or two. To perform the chin tuck:
- Stand with your back against a wall, with your shoulders relaxed and your mouth closed.
- Push your head back to place the crown of your skull on the wall.
- Now gently tuck your chin toward the wall. It is important that you visualize your chin traveling horizontal to the floor, not in an arc. You do not want to bring your chin down toward your chest to tuck.
- Hold for a few slow breaths, and repeat 3–6 times.
- Repeat as often as you can.
Wall Lean Neck Strengthening
Stretching your neck is one half of the equation, the other half is strengthening the muscles that hold your head and neck in a healthy and normal position. To perform this neck strengthening exercise:
- Stand approximately 1 foot from a wall, place a towel behind your head, and lean against the towel.
- Make sure your body has good straight posture and that your head is straight and square with your shoulders, keep your chin up!
- As you progress and find this exercise easy, simply stand a little further from the wall to increase the difficulty.
- You should feel a gentle muscle contraction at the back of your neck.
- Perform 2-3 sets of 20-30 second holds.
If You Have 15 Minutes to Spare Give this Text Neck Focused Yoga Routine a Go
There you go, don’t let your Pokemon Go ruin your neck and back. With a few simple exercises and stretches and a little more consciousness regarding the ergonomics of office work and phone use you can prevent/cure text neck and get on with your life.