Mobile & Tablet users suffering from ‘text neck’

A new condition dubbed “text neck” is on the rise due to the amount of time people spend hunched over their mobile phone and tablet computer screens.

Smartphones and laptops have radically changed how we access data, which, previously had been a mostly office desk based activity. Nowadays we are just as likely to access our office technologies while on the move. Anywhere can haphazardly become our office, commuting, in a cafe or on the street and that means a deteriorated stance is far more common. The article suggests that the time when users are looking down while accessing in these random postures is increasing progressively and overloading our neck muscles causing an epidemic of neck stress cases.

The health emphasis is initially on self awareness, observing good practice by not craning ones neck while looking down. This is harder for laptops as the screen level is way too low to find a natural comfort zone for the neck. Having an awareness of how much time we are spending is another way of self monitoring, perhaps breaking up the sessions so we don’t spend too long in one position. There is a further note that children and young adolescents are more vulnerable to straining and poor posture.

Many of us start off with poor upper back muscle tone, poor blood flow and poor alignment generally in how we position our upper backs. The best exercise to give renewed endurance to a smart phone vulnerable neck is shrugging the shoulders backwards, for example the repetitive pulling the two free ends of an exercise band upwards in a shrug while standing on the middle. Its a matter of personal opinion, but the majority of these cases maybe a direct result of holding single stationary muscular contractions for long periods which are unnatural compared to more normal activity that pumps blood during full range movement. The blood is not renewed and the muscle control deteriorates so endurance required to operate in poor stances is progressively much less. If we are to overcome the pressures of constantly accessing smart phone and laptop technologies we need to recognise that remedial upper back exercise is the counter to the new demands placed upon our necks.

Links

Do you suffer from ‘text neck’? – Daily Mail, 8th October 2011