Prolonged Use of Phone Or Computer Can Cause Text Neck: Exercises to Correct Your Posture

Text Neck is one of the consequences of excessive cell phone use. Here are some exercises to help you ease the strain on your neck and improve your posture.

It is most likely that your head is bent downward while reading this article on your phone or laptop. Did you know, staring down or staying hunched over for too long can cause Text Neck or Forward Head Syndrome? Prolonged use of phone or computer with your head bent downward can increase load on the joints and the ligaments, lengthens and weakens the muscle and load on the discs (another big reason for cervical slip disc!). When you are looking down at your cell phone, your head weight increases from 12 kilos to 48 kilos, say experts.

In a series of videos posted on Instagram, celebrity fitness instructor Yasmin Karachiwala and physiotherapist Dr Hemakshi Basu, have demonstrated simple exercises to help you "reset and activate your neck & upper back muscles for better alignment of the head."

If you have any pain, they suggest consulting your physician before doing these exercises. Below are three exercises to fix Text Neck -

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Watch the video and try these exercises at home to ease the strain on your neck and keep your muscles activated throughout the day.

Signs and Symptoms of Text Neck

Text Neck is a term coined by US chiropractor Dr Dean L. Fishman and refers to the repetitive stress injury associated with overuse of mobile electronic devices or leaning forward for prolonged periods. Some of the most common symptoms associated with Text Neck include:

  • Stiff neck
  • Upper back or neck pain.
  • Shoulder pain and tightness
  • Headaches
  • Numbness in the arms

An untreated text neck can lead to inflammation of the neck muscles, ligaments and nerves, permanent arthritic damage, and posture problems. Text Neck can also result in flattening of thoracic kyphosis, early onset arthritis, spinal degeneration, disc compression, muscle weakness and loss of lung capacity.

What can you do to prevent Text Neck?

To avoid and reduce the risk of Text Neck associated with prolonged use of mobile devices, experts suggest to:

  • Limit time spent on using handheld devices like smartphones, e-readers and computer tablets
  • Be careful of your posture and to maintain a neutral head position
  • Try to hold the device at eye level as far as possible
  • Take frequent breaks. For example, after every 15 minutes, look up and bring the neck back into the neutral position.
  • Regularly do exercises that focus on attaining the right posture, like yoga and Pilates.

If the above measures do not work, seek medical attention. In severe cases, your doctor may recommend pain medication or injection into the facet joint or trigger point.

What's the ideal posture?

Every Wednesday in July, Yasmin Karachiwala and physiotherapist Dr Hemakshi Basu have decided to demonstrate exercises to improve posture. Watch the first video of the series to find out what's the ideal posture and understand the different types seen today.

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