How often do you look down at your beloved phone? Perhaps you are right now! A study showed that on average people look at their phone every six and a half minutes, that’s around 150 times a day. YIKES! And then, how LONG do you get caught looking down in the scrolling game? On average a person gazes down at their phone for two to four hours a day. YIKES AGAIN!! Not only is the repeated motion of cervical flexion/looking down wreaking havoc on your delicate spine, so is the amount of time you spend staring downward. As much as we love our devices they are literally a pain in the neck! Unfortunately, neck pain is on the rise and due to its popularity, it even has a name: Tech Neck or Text Neck.
As you look down at your device, the head moves forward and your center of gravity automatically follows and shifts forward as well. To compensate, the upper body/thoracic spine rounds and curves backwards creating excessive kyphosis aka a hunched appearance. Then to compensate for that, the hips then shift forward and the low back curvature is compromised. A domino effect is created throughout the whole body responding to the slight shift in the head leaning forward. To top it off, your breath is compromised because your diaphragm, the main muscle of respiration is compressed as you slouch. Misalignments may occur throughout the entire body leading to pain and lack of range of motion in the neck, as well as the middle and lower back, shoulders, hips and even jaw. Over time these compensatory patterns are seriously detrimental. PLUS fatigue sneaks in even quicker despite how “good” it feels to slouch. Your body is working overtime to hold you out of alignment, so you actually feel exhausted faster. Also without proper oxygen consumption and shorter breaths your body is physiologically stressed.
It is possible to relieve current and future neck pain without giving up your devices. Be aware of your posture, take breaks, raise your device, and if you have unrelenting, constant pain, see your Doc.
Happy scrolling but remember to look up, enjoy the view to keep your neck, your body and your mind healthy.