Remember the chart that was hung in your elementary science classroom showing human evolution? It started with a crouched ape and ended with a person standing fully upright. Well, we have to add a new image to the evolution—someone with head bent at a 45-degree angle.
You may have already heard the term “text neck” and dismissed it as just another reason for parents to be concerned about their kids’ cellphone use. But research by Dr. Kenneth Hansraji of New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Center shows the weight of the head, combined with a forward flex, can stress your spine and lead to “early wear, tear, degeneration and possibly surgeries.”
The easy answer to combating text neck is, of course, limiting your cellphone usage altogether. But Dr. Aneesh Garg, sports medicine and nonsurgical orthopedics specialist with Presence Saint Joseph Hospital in Chicago, has other suggestions.
“Talk to someone, instead, honestly” Dr. Garg says. “Try using the speech recognition feature on your phone to reduce texting and anterior overloading your body.”
You should also consider holding your phone at eye level or buying a stand that will hold your phone higher up to your face.
If you’ve found that, along with neck pains, your thumbs also ache, Dr. Garg has a tip for that as well.
“The thumb tips are the main culprit, so work on the meaty part between the thumb and forefinger. That will ease the tension.”
And don’t forget to set up those voice commands, “Hey, Siri” and “OK, Google,” a chance to save you some neck strain.