Hey, El Paso!
This is Dr. David Middaugh from El Paso Manual Physical Therapy.
I wanted to talk to you about a new phenomenon that’s happening with neck pain.
It’s called text neck.
This happens to people that are on their phone quite a bit texting or also people that are using tablets or any mobile device.
If they spend a lot of time hunched over, looking down at the phone or the tablet, they can get stiffness and other problems happen in their neck.
When we see clients for this issue, it usually has been going on for a while because people have been using the phone or the tablet for a while.
It may be causing some pain in the shoulders or in the arms as well.
Now, I’m going to share with you three tips to avoid text neck or reduce it if you feel like you might have some symptoms of text neck.
Tip #1 – Bring the phone up to your face.
Literally, if you’re holding the tablet or a smartphone, instead of holding it down here by your chest and looking down at it, bring it up to your face.
Anatomical reason for that is your neck joints, if you look at the way that the skeleton is designed, these little joints here in your spine are not designed to be looking down for long periods of time.
But a shoulder joint, a ball and socket joint and an elbow joint, is designed to bend and bring you up to this level.
The problem is your muscles might get tired of holding the phone up like this and you may not be able to look up and see where you’re going right away.
What you could do is prop your elbow up on an armrest or a table if you’re sitting at a desk.
You can also put some pillows on your lap so that you can prop your elbows up or there are also devices where you can clip your phone and your tablet into a stand that you can rest on a table if you have to be looking at a mobile phone or a tablet for long periods of time.
Tip #2 – Look down only two minutes or less.
The amount of time that you spend bent over, looking down at your phone or your tablet should be no more than two minutes.
After that amount of time, your likelihood of making joints stuck, stretching ligaments out, stretching nerves and tendons out in the neck region shoots up dramatically.
Keep your neck safe by just coming down for a minute or two and then coming up.
Now, most videos that you see online (like this one 😉) are longer than two minutes, so I would go back to tip number one by bringing it up to your face and maybe going back and forth and not letting yourself stay down for more than two minutes at a time.
Tip #3 – Do this text neck stretch.
Here is a stretch that I show my clients that have text neck problems.
Especially they’ve got pain right in here kind of in the lower part of the neck, upper part of the back right where people tend to get that hump, the bump in the top of their back area right here, that is a problem area that gets stuck.
You’re setting yourself up for a bigger bump as you age if you don’t get this text neck problem to improve.
What you want to do is put one hand on the other.
It doesn’t matter which one.
Put your hands right there in your back and then move your elbows out and pull your shoulder blades together.
Hold it for about five to 10 seconds and you can do anywhere from five to 10 reps, really as needed.
If you feel stiff in your neck, this will help loosen it up in the moment.
Now, guys, this is just a temporary fix.
This is just to loosen you up for a short period of time.
If you’ve got symptoms or pain that goes down into your arm.
If you have pain that just doesn’t go away despite you doing the stretch, not looking down at your phone for so long and bringing the phone up to your head, then you might have a more serious problem that needs some specialist attention.
If you feel like you’ve got that, contact us, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help you out over the phone.
If you have any comments or questions, please ask them.
We’ll be happy to answer them right here if you just comment right below us.
Please share this with anybody that you know probably has text neck because they’re connected to their phone or tablet and they’re always like this and maybe even have the bump starting to form in their upper back.
I hope this helps, guys.
Have a wonderful day.