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HOW TO BEAT THE PHONE SLUMP AND TEXT NECK

Millions of people do it every single day, and are completely unaware the effects it can have. Technology has transformed the way we hold our bodies - and not for the better. Every day we spend an average of 2 – 4 hours on our phones, usually with our heads tilted over reading and texting. Cumulatively this is 700 – 1400 hours a year of excess stress placed on our neck. Just imagine what impact that can have on our necks and backs. If you are reading this article on a phone or tablet, you are probably doing it right now: tilting your head forward and down in order to look at your device.

When we hold our head in a healthy, neutral position, the forces to the neck is about 10 – 12 pounds. But when the head is tilted forward the forces seen by the neck increases drastically, it can double or triple the weight of your head. By tilting your head at a 60 degree angle (at which most of us view our phones) it increases the stress to our necks to 60 pounds. That’s like having a 6 year old sitting on your head while you're standing trying to read your text messages.

By tilting your head forward when you are checking your mails or scrolling through social media we place repetitive increased stress to our neck which then causes all types of problems including early wear and tear, degeneration and possibly the need for surgery. Furthermore, poor posture while sitting, standing and walking can lead to more than upper body pain and stiffness - poor posture affects other parts of the spine too, such as the middle and low back.

We know there’s no way you’re ditching your devices, so what can you do about the pain? Here are some simple and easy tips and exercises for men and women to overcome the phone slump and avoid the negative side effects:

Making good posture a habit is the first step

Good posture means that your head is upright, your ears are in line with your shoulders, and your shoulder blades are down and retracted. Good posture is not only good for the health of your spine, it’s good for your over-all health and mood as well.

Hold your phone at eye level

This may look funny, but it will force you to hold your head, neck and shoulders in a better position. It also has as a very handy time restriction as you will feel your arms and shoulders tire quickly. So it will help you to only use your phone for short periods at a time.

Use your phone lying on your back

Always try and lie on your back when it is appropriate to do so. In this position your head will be in the same plane as your shoulders, and will allow muscles of your neck and back to relax.

Stretch and Strengthen

Stretching and strengthening your neck and upper back muscles can also help alleviate some of the nagging pain. A Biokineticist or Physical Therapist can help guide you with an individualized program. But here are 3 quick exercises to get you started in the mean while.

1.Shoulder Blade Pinches

You literally only pinch your shoulder blades back together, and you can do this seated or standing. Perform 10 reps 3 – 5 times a day.

This focuses on the upper back muscles, which tend to get weak when you slouch.

2. Pec Stretch

Stand in a doorway and place your forearms against the frame of the door, with your elbows at shoulder height. With one foot forward, gently lean into the door. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Perform this stretch 3 - 5 times a day.

3.Chin Tucks

Sitting up straight, and without tilting your head in any direction, gently draw your head and chin back. As you’d do making a double chin. Perform 10 reps, 3 – 5 times a day.

We all hate a double chin, but it can be really good for your posture. This exercise help to strengthen your neck muscles and help you pull your head back into alignment.

It’s worth the change! Avoiding the cell phone slump or the text neck is simple and anyone can do it. It just requires a little bit of self-discipline and awareness. Your body will definitely thank you for it!

Contact me (carmenlaubscher@hotmail.com or 07990102644) if you need guidance in improving your posture. I’ve got the qualifications and experience to help you improve you posture.

I will also be doing free posture evaluations at One LDN for the month of November 2016. If you are having an ongoing nagging pain in your upper body, and you are unsure as to blame posture for it, contact and book your free evaluation. See classes here at ONE LDN.

The future you will thank you for what you do today.

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