While texting has become a primary method of communication, it’s also becoming a major source of back and neck pain. Some are calling this “text neck.”
“It’s increasing more often. We’re working with a lot more clients with cathartic posture and neck issues,” said Simon Paige, a personal trainer and stretch therapist.
Paige told hosts on Global New’s The Morning Show that he sees people hunched over their phones, especially during commutes.
“Everyone was on their phone, their heads were forward, their posture was down,” he said, adding that continually morphing your body this way causes a change in shape.
Headaches, back pain, neck pain and a curved posture are just some of the issues he’s seen from “text neck” referring to the awkward position your body is in when you use your phone. Multiple stretches including placing your body in a table-top position and aligning your spine is one way to improve “text neck” symptoms, said Paige.
“I’m often seeing people with a lot of neck and shoulder pain and it’s mainly because of bad posture they have when they’re using their devices, especially when it comes to smartphones and tablets,” said chiropractor Katherine Tibor, in a previous Global News report.
While looking at a smartphone, your head is bowed over — resulting in a tightness in your shoulders and the back of your neck, she said.
“Most people will say it’s stiffness and toughness and a dull ache they have. Others feel a pain that spreads past their shoulders into their arms,” she added.
As you’re huddled around your phone, this can create a sore upper and lower back, added Sophia Da Silva.
“Your spine and your body have to support the weight of your head and if you’re in a proper posture, your body is adapted to withstand that stress,” Da Silva previously told Global News. “When you’re looking down and tilting your head forward, you’re increasing stress in the neck, upper back and lower back.”
Cellphones are also changing the way we walk and impacting our gait, according to a 2016 study from the University of Delaware, Loyola University and Elizabethtown College.
The research showed that our bodies are trying to adapt to walking and texting at the same time.
“Humans are really good at adapting to their external environment,” said Paige. “When we see people that are on their phones for a lot of time, their body starts to change shape… so that’s a real concern.”
To mitigate the effects of “text neck”, Paige also recommends a stretch called the “dead bug, where you lie on your back, while putting your legs in a table-top position with your arms extended.
For more exercises to combat “text neck”, watch Simon Paige in the video above.
— With files from Global News’ Carmen Chai