Is your mobile phone destroying your posture?
The year is 2021. Technology, as we know it, has advanced to a whole new level.
We have smart phones!
The world – now easily accessible with just a swipe of a finger. (… and usually done so with a bad posture)
… And the result?
Text neck syndrome.
“Hey Mark! – what is this text neck syndrome you speak of?”
Text neck syndrome is a condition where one develops neck, upper back and/or shoulder pain as a result of poor posture whilst using the smart phone.
… Is this how you use your phone?
If it is, don’t feel bad.
You actually share the same posture as most of the clients that I see in the clinic with text neck syndrome.
The content presented on this blog post is not medical advice and should not be treated as such. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. For more information: Medical disclaimer.
What happens to your posture in text neck syndrome?
“Where the head goes, the body follows”
As you look down at your smart phone:
- Your head pokes forward. (For more info: Forward head posture)
- Your upper back hunches. (For more info: Hunch back posture)
- Your shoulders round forward. (For more info: Rounded shoulders)
Over time, this posture will cause issues in the muscles and joints of your neck!
Let’s be honest. We are all addicted to our phones…
With the excessive amount of time we’re spending on it, it’s only a matter of time before the negative effects of adopting this posture become apparent.
With the average person using their smart phone anywhere between 2-4 hours a day in total, this equates to over 700 – 1400 hours per year!
That is a enormous amount of time looking down!
To give you an idea of how much extra stress is going through your neck, it is equivalent of heaving heavy weight plate from the gym resting on your head.
As the Washington Post explains it:
… as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds.
…Over time, researchers say, this poor posture, sometimes called “text neck,” can lead to early wear-and-tear on the spine, degeneration and even surgery.
Other symptoms of Text neck syndrome may include:
- Headaches at base of skull
- Neck stiffness
- Inability to move head through full motion
- Referred arm pain
- Clicking of the neck joints
- Feelings of heaviness
- Eye pain
Do you suffer from any of the text neck syndrome symptoms as mentioned above?
If you do, I urge you to consider doing something about it now before it is too late.
Text neck syndrome exercises:
Note: All exercises must be performed pain-free.
If you have any doubts on whether these exercises are suitable for you, please consult your health practitioner.
1. Warm up your neck muscles
The muscles and joints in your neck can become very stiff with prolonged use of a smart phone.
Let’s loosen them up!
- Perform a gentle circular motion with your neck.
- Change directions.
- Repeat 10 times.
Hold each stretch for at least 3o seconds.
a) Side neck stretch
b) Levator scapula stretch
c) Front neck stretch
d) Back neck stretch
3. Chin retraction
It is essential to strengthen the muscles which are responsible for maintaining the correct alignment of your neck.
- Whilst sitting upright, gently tuck your chin in (… Think of it as “making a double chin”).
- Imagine the back of your neck elongating as you perform this movement.
- Make sure to keep your jaw and neck muscles relaxed.
- Hold for 5-15 seconds depending on your level of comfort.
- Repeat 10 times.
Note: For more exercises like this, check out the post: Forward head posture correction.
4. Chest stretch
All that time on your smart phone will cause your chest muscles to become pretty tight! Remember – the tighter your chest muscles, the worse your posture will become.
Let’s stretch them out.
- Place your hands onto a door frame (as above)
- Lunge forward.
- Aim to feel a stretch along your chest.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat 3 times.
5. Scapula Retraction
- Gentle pull your shoulder blades back and down
- Make sure that you feel the muscles between your shoulder blades are contracting.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat 10 times.
How to correctly use your smart phone:
Check out this post: The Ideal sitting posture for an in-depth explanation of how to position your posture properly.
- Don’t slouch. Sit up straight!
- Gently tuck your chin in.
- Roll your shoulder blades backwards.
- Raise your phone at neck/eye level.
- Keep your elbows tucked in.
You may think it looks awkward. Or perhaps you might feel people will look at you weirdly.
But let me ask you a question… If you have pain from text neck syndrome and you knew you could improve it, wouldn’t you do it?
Who cares what other people think… Perhaps you may even inspire them to use the correct posture whilst using their phone.
If you are interested in fixing your posture, I would recommend you check out this post: Sitting posture.
It goes through in detail exactly how your posture should be.
a) Use your eyes to look down:
If you are not keen on raising the height level of how you use your smart phone, try angling your eyes down towards the smart phone instead.
b) Take a break:
Do you absolutely have to be checking Facebook/Twitter/Emails etc. all the time? If you really have to, try to incorporate some rest breaks every 10-15 minutes.
c) Protect your kids:
Kids are great with technology.
In fact, kids are starting to use smart phones at younger ages. If you have children, have a look at them.
Is your kid slouched over their gadget?
Teach them good habits whilst their young. It’s very hard to break bad habits once they are formed.
Do you have text neck syndrome?
I hope not. But if you do, I hope that I have demonstrated some simple strategies to help fix the problem.
Feel free to leave a comments down below. I am here to help!
Until next time, happy texting! (…in moderation of course)
21 thoughts on “How to fix Text Neck Syndrome”
can I perform this if my neck is aching when I tilt?
Only move your neck to where you are comfortable.
Text-Neck-Syndrome means ”Cep Boyun Hastalığı” in our language Turkish. I am the web master of ”boyunfitigitedavi.com” web site which is about mainly neck problems,so your blog attracted my interest. I also have strong pains with my neck,and back and sacral vertebrae.Text neck syndrome is my illness’s name.:((
You decribed this illness in a very good manner.
Just came Across this article…
I’ve had terrible posture my entire life. I always looked down because of depression. I am 40 yrs old now and have this big bulge on the back of my neck. Can it be corrected this late in life?
It’s never too late to start. It’s too late to wait!
It is true that the long you have had postural issues, the longer it may take to correct.
At very least – there is always some expect that can be improved.
Please check out this post too: Dowager’s hump.
I have been trying to cope with a pretty special case for a year now.
Due to excessive office work I have developed quite a bad posture.
My symptoms include dizziness, ear ringing, visual disturbances and even stomach issues.
Checked with the doctors even went to hospital all tests came back negative. Because I haven’t had any psychological traumas either it was concluded that my posture and the muscle imbalances are responsible for my condition (believe it or not).
I know it’s a long shot but I am hoping you may be able to answer my question even from a distance:
I tried stretching my neck but then it all goes wobbly (like nothing is holding it) and the dizziness improves. I know it is mainly coming from my SCM muscles because I tested it: when I stretch it more dizziness and weak neck feeling comes along. Some people suggested me to strengthen it because sometimes a weak muscle is a tight muscle. Now when I tried that they contracted so much that I could not even stand up properly and my upper traps went into spasm. My question is: why do I have the wobbly = dizzy feeling when I stretch and what do you think I should do next?
I know it is a difficult case and I have been to many therapists as well but no one has been able to give me a proper answer. You seem like a pretty knowledgeable guy so I hope you may be able to help me out on this one.
1. Get ruled out for Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
2. Given the doctors medically cleared everything else, I am going to assume they checked for:
– blood pressure issues
– Vertebrobasilar insufficiency (VBI)
– scans for the brain
3. If the SCM is the main culprit, it may be over working/compensating for another muscle. Instead of stretching, you can try releasing it instead using your fingers.
4. Strengthen your deep neck flexors:
5. Stretch/release the sub-occipitals
6.If the SCM is tight, I would check to see if you have a Forward head posture.
Check out the post here: Forward head posture
Thanks for the quick turnaround!
Yes I have been checked for those and they were ruled out.
When I try to release my SCM’s with my fingers my neck goes all weak feels like my head is rolling off. It feels like they shut down/not working properly and feel weak. Could it be that my SCM muscles have become weak? What to do then?
In the mean time I have done the chin tucks lately as well thanks to this my deep neck flexors seem to be working fine.
I appreciate all your help.
It could be that you have tight but weak SCM.
In this case – I would prioritize strengthening.
If you are a bit sensitive in the neck, start off with isometric rotations of the neck.
– Whilst sitting upright, place your palm on the side of your head.
– Gently turn your head into the hand.
– Match the force of your hand.
– Hold for 10 seconds.
– Repeat 5 times.
– Alternate sides.
– Only generate as much force as you are comfortable with.
If you would like some more ways to strengthen your neck, you can check out this post as well:
Neck strengthening exercises.
I normally like lean my neck back and move it sometimes , making a crack/click noise. Is this bc of text neck?
Sounds like your neck joints are clicking due to the release in pressure in the joints.
This can be amplified if you have a text neck.
Hi, great stretches here. I also came across this video on youtube that really helped me:
I love this post! Thanks for sharing stretches to help with text neck! We created The Anjali App to help patients hold their phones properly while using them! Check it out! I’m curious what you think?
I was recently diagnosed with text neck, these exercises seem really good, tried them, but realized my neck is so stiff that i’m finding really hard to be able to do the chin retraction one. Doing it makes my neck hurt more. So I’m not sure if it’s because my case is so acute, Should I continue doing it? Also, how long did it take you to get rid of this problem after doing these exercises everyday? Thanks Mark!
Make sure you are not jamming and forcing the movement. Gentle is the way!
If you are stiff, forcing it may cause you to strain your muscles.
Keep doing it! Just take it easy :)
Hae, am Tonny. Thanks for those nice tips, i am a victim. I have been having a sharp pain at the back of my neck especially when looking up and recently started having some headaches. It came to my attention today after watching news, kenya. Will work on my posture.
Let me know how it goes!
These are great tips Mark!
The fact that people spend around 700-1400 hours every year looking down at their phone is extremely alarming. It was also interesting to know just how much damage poor posture can have on your neck.
I am running a campaign about the importance of posture. In today’s society, people are becoming more and more addicted to their mobile phone, which is causing them to have ‘text neck’. I am currently writing a blog about ‘text neck’ and came across your site while researching. I think that good posture not only makes you look good but also has numerous health benefits. I don’t think people realise just how much their posture is affecting them.
Great to see another blog dedicated to improving people’s posture!
Keep it up!