Look around today. Almost everyone has a smart phone, including young children. It is a great way to stay connected and allows some people more freedom because of this mobile connection with work and family. But there are downsides.
The negative impact of smart phone include distracted driving issues, instant gratification, and lack of verbal and personal communication. However, one of the biggest issues is health related. Doctors are now seeing patients with, what they term, Text Neck. This is chronic neck pain from looking down a lot. This includes computer work, reading books, cooking, interacting with children, gardening, etc. We, as a community, rarely look up and this is straining and injuring our muscles, our eyes, and our joints. With the potential to cause early onset arthritis and other issues (Spine-Health website).
What are symptoms of Text Neck?
According to Spine-Health website, symptoms are:
- chronic headaches
- upper back pain
- shoulder pain
- neck pain
- increased curvature of the spine
Although neck, shoulder and back pain can be caused by many things such as poor posture, emotions, stress, lack of exercise, and excess body weight, looking down can add to these and make the problem worse.
Stop right now and look up…how does that feel? Tight? Yeah…those muscles need a break and some counter-stretching.
What to do?
If your pain is serious or chronic, you may need physical therapy. A physical therapist may use heat or cold therapy, massage, electronic stimulation, stretches and strengthening exercises to get you back to normal. What is nice about PT is that your treatment is individualized AND once you know what to do (properly) you can always use them when you need it for the rest of your life. I went to PT for this and when my neck gets sore, I can go right to my exercises to make sure I take care of the problem before it gets worse.
For what it’s worth, here is a link to a pamphlet on cervical (neck) exercises, KnowYourBack. It is much better to be taught in person and make sure you are doing them correctly but this does a fairly good job explaining some of the exercises you can try.
No one likes pain but the American lifestyle is not conducive to a healthy body. We sit too much (watching TV, driving, working), our postures are not natural (Text Neck) and we spend more time looking a tiny screens instead of vast horizons. We don’t get out in nature enough and it shows.
So if you want to feel better, go outside and look around. Pay attention to your body and your thoughts.
Do one thing everyday to be healthier.
Today…look up and see your world.