Walk into any coffee shop and look around. No matter where you are in the country, one thing is the same, almost everyone seems to be looking down at their phones.
With 77% of adults in America owning smartphones, it’s no secret that our society is dependent on them to stay connected in this digital world.
In fact, this study by IDC shows that 63% of smartphone owners keep their phone with them for all but one hour of their day.
So how much is too much? Could we actually be doing harm to our bodies by spending more and more time on our phone?
Your Spine and Cell Phones
While smartphones are incredibly helpful for keeping up in the modern world, they can actually cause big problems when it comes to spine health.
It’s such a phenomenon that the phrase “tech neck” or “text neck” was coined to describe spine issues associated with spending too much time looking down at a phone.
Have you started to feel a twinge in your upper back? We’re going to take a look at the symptoms of tech neck and the steps you can take to avoid it.
Symptoms of Tech Neck
When your head is tilted at a 30-degree angle, you put as much as 40 pounds of pressure on your neck. Here are some problems this can cause:
Upper back pain. This can either be chronic or more of an acute/sharp pain. You may even experience muscle spasms in the upper back.
Pain or tightness in shoulders and arms. Tech neck isn’t just limited to the neck. Symptoms in your shoulders and arms can occur when you irritate your cervical nerve. Watch out for pain or even tingling sensations that develop with increased cell phone use.
Headaches. Remember what we said about your head putting 40 pounds of pressure on your neck? This not only leads to neck issues but also uncomfortable headaches. The headaches can range anywhere from a dull pressure to a migraine.
Other symptoms of spending too much time on your phone:
- Dry eyes
- Disrupted sleep
- Decreased attention span
Our Top Remedies
It’d be easy to just tell you to spend less time on your phone. However, we know it’s not that simple. We’ve put together a list of suggestions to make a functional change in how you use your cell phone.
Lift your phone to eye level. Be sure to hold your phone up to your eyes instead of bending down. This will decrease the amount of pressure that you put on your upper back.
Stretch. We recommend taking a few minutes each day to stretch your neck and back. Take a look at our blog on simple stretches you can do to relieve tech neck.
Improve core strength. Does core strength have anything to do with your spine health? Absolutely! In order for your core to support your spine, it’s important to build up those muscles with daily ab exercises.
Limit time on devices. If you must be on your phone or tablet for a prolonged amount of time, we recommend taking breaks every thirty minutes to walk around and relieve stress on your neck.
Practice good posture. Tech neck can happen because of cell phone overuse or simply not practicing good posture. If you’d like to start your path to better posture, here are our top suggestions.
When to See a Chiropractor
If you’ve put the above suggestions into practice and your tech neck still won’t go away, it’s probably time to schedule an appointment with your chiropractor.
At Advanced Wellness, we’re committed to helping you improve your spine health and get back to a pain-free lifestyle. If you’d like to meet with one of our chiropractors, schedule a free consultation here.