Many people are staring down at their cell phone or tablet so much that it’s literally becoming a pain in the neck. Doctor Chris Cornett is an orthopedic surgeon and spine specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. He’s reporting an increase in patients who are complaining of neck and shoulder pain.
“As we’re all getting more accustomed to using mobile devices, people tend to hold their head and neck in abnormal positions for longer periods of time. That strains the muscles, joints and discs in our neck and causes people to have more postural pain in the neck,” Cornett says. There’s no quick fix to “text neck,” but Cornett suggests changing how you hold your cell phone or other devices so they’re at eye level.
“The best way to treat it is to adjust the device you’re using so it’s at a more appropriate height and really try to be aware and not hold your head in these abnormal positions,” Cornett says. Regular exercise and having a strong, flexible back and neck will also help with abnormal muscle and skeletal stress.
Cornett also suggests simply putting the phone or other device away. But, he admits to experiencing symptoms of “text neck” himself.
“This is simply a newer version of postural work pain we used to see more in traditional typists or people who did clerical work,” Cornett says. “Instead of leaning over a typewriter, now people are relying more on these different types of mobile devices.”