Mobile Phone Use is causing Neck and Shoulder Pain
Is your Phone becoming a Pain in the Neck?
The amount of time that we spend on mobile devices over the last 5 years has increased fivefold. UK adults now spend on average over 2 hours a day using their smartphones or tablets, and young people are generally well above that average. This now exceeds the time spend on desktop or laptop computers.
Could you have "Text Neck"?
Typically, the incidence of neck pain increases with age. However, there are now increasing numbers of younger people developing neck pain, who have not had problems before. There is a strong association with neck pain and phone use, which has resulted in a condition being known as "text neck".
Over half of mobile phone users suffer numbness or neck aches. One study discovered that 83% of people reported hand or neck pain while texting. The problem is due to bending the neck and looking down, which 90% of people do when using their smartphones. This is resulting in a "forward head posture" which can result in headaches, neck, shoulder and arm pain, as well as numbness and tingling in the hands.
What is going wrong?
The problem is caused by the weight of the head and the position of your neck.
"When your head is held upright (with your ears over your shoulders), the force on your neck due to the weight of the head is about 12 pounds", explains Clinic Director, Stuart Smellie. "For every inch that your head is bent forward, the force increases by another 12 pounds. Therefore if the head is flexed forward by 60 degrees (which is not uncommon), there is a force of 60 pounds on your neck - which equivalent to weight of an average 8 year boy!"
This additional load causes physical stress on the joints and muscles of the neck and shoulder girdle, which in turn can result in local pain, and irritation of the nerves that pass down to the arms.
What can be done?
The easy solution is to spend less time on your phone, but there are also some sensible preventative measures that you can take:
- Keep your head up, raise the phone higher.
- Look down with your eyes instead of bending your neck.
- Keep changing your position.
- Take regular breaks.
- Exercise your shoulders and neck.
If you are experiencing pain, then seek the help of a chiropractor. Here at Skelian we look to mobilise the neck and shoulders to restore normal function to the joints and muscles. We then provide appropriate exercise and ergonomic advice to maintain this function, as well as helping people to self-manage what can otherwise be a recurring problem.
If you would like more information or advice, then please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your circumstances with you and advise whether we can help.