Looking at your mobile device all day?
A recent study showed that 79% of those between the ages of 18-44 have their mobile device with them at ALL times and some only spend two hours of their day without it!
Looking down at a cell phone, tablet, or other mobile devices too frequently or for too long can lead to irritation in the neck causing neck pain, muscle soreness, headaches, and upper back pain which can range from chronic nagging pain to sharp severe pain.
How can using my mobile device cause pain?
When sitting or standing upright with your ears aligned to the center of your shoulders, the weight of our head is approximately 10-12 lbs… but when you maintain a position where your head and shoulders are flexed forward (I.e. looking at your mobile device) it increases the forces that are applied through your neck.
A recent study showed that by moving your head forward just one inch, you increase the forces applied to your neck up to 6 times!
What does this mean?
Maintaining this forward head posture (as you would while looking at your mobile device) for prolonged periods of time or too frequently throughout the day can cause muscles in your neck to become tight and overworked and other muscles to become lengthened and weak. This muscular imbalance can lead to increased pressure on the lower vertebrae, irritation to the ligaments or nerves in the neck, and potential degenerative damage if left untreated.
How can Physio help?!?
These symptoms are caused by maintaining and repeating a position that increases stress to the structures in the neck… so it can easily be relieved or prevented by taking frequent breaks from using a mobile device (every 20 minutes)! Or even holding the device higher up to try and bring your neck into a more neutral position.
In today's world, it's hard not to use your mobile device all the time, BUT every 20 minutes try to look up and take in your surroundings.
If your symptoms persist!
Physiotherapy can help by providing you with tools to manage, relieve and prevent these symptoms. Treatment can include education on stretches for tight muscles, strengthening for weak neck and shoulder muscles, correcting muscle imbalances, soft tissue release, acupuncture, manual therapy, and education on rest and lifestyle modifications that work for YOU!
Neupane, S., Ali, U., & Mathew, A. (2017). Text Neck Syndrome-Systematic Review. Imperial J Interdiscipl Res, 3(7), 141-8.