If you depend on your smartphone for work emails, social media notifications and as a camera (and most people do), then it may not come as a surprise to you that your posture is suffering. Each time you look at or send a text message, your neck is hunched forward, and your shoulders are rolled forward. Here’s how to fix your posture, so you don’t have to sacrifice screen time.
Got Text Neck?
If you’re reading this while being slumped over at your desk, you’re not alone. In fact, while you are hunched over, you’ll soon experience a pinch in your shoulders, or a pain in your back. There’s even a term for this pain, which has been dubbed as, “Text Neck.”
Text neck is the pain that comes from emailing, texting, swiping, posting and commenting to social media on your smartphone—and it’s a serious problem with serious long-term health problems. Just think about it: every time you look down at your phone, you’re causing strain to your body. Here are some of the most detrimental things you’re doing to your body each time you look at your phone—and what you can do to reverse the damage.
You’re Putting Unnecessary Pressure on Your Neck
Every time you lower your head by 15 degrees to look down at your phone, send a text message or respond to a work email, you’re putting 27 pounds of unnecessary pressure on your neck. If your head is all the way down, you’re putting a startling 60 pounds of pressure on your neck! Since the average American spends about an hour a day just text messaging on their phone, that’s a lot of pressure on the neck. In addition, you’re also causing nerve pain (including pinched nerves) and even tendinitis!
office-620822_640Here’s how to correct this behavior: limit the amount of time you spend texting, emailing and sifting through your newsfeed. If this seems tough to do (and you’ll fully admit you’re addicted to your iPhone), that’s ok. Just start out simply, by ‘unplugging’ throughout your day.
Unplug for a Healthy Posture and a Healthy Body
For example, make your morning routine smartphone-free, where you focus on setting a good intention for your day ahead, fixing a healthy breakfast, and stretching. Enjoy your morning, because the better you feel about yourself at the beginning of the day, the better you’ll feel throughout.
Give yourself ten minutes before getting to work to sift through your Facebook feed, send text messages, etc. Then, cut yourself off so you can focus on the day ahead. How is your posture? Give yourself hourly checks to ensure your shoulders are rolled back, and your spine is straight. Set an alarm to go off a few more times during your work day for ‘phone time.’ That way, you’ll never over-do screen time, or fail to ‘unplug.’
By designating certain times of the day to check your messages, you’re giving your body a much-needed break from the poor posture that comes with constant screen time. As you reduce your phone time, you’ll begin seeing immediate improvements: less back pain, infrequent ‘text neck’ pain and an overall improvement in your quality of life.