Smartphones – A Pain in the Neck
In Singapore, 4.4 million or 80% of our population are active mobile social users – that’s a 56% increase from 2014. We spend an average of 3 hours daily on our mobile devices, straining our necks along the way.
We are a nation with text neck, a very real malady associated with excessive smartphone use. We send messages, play games, browse social media and read articles without realising the impact on our necks. When using our phones, we naturally adopt a forward-and-down head position that increases the stress on our neck.
The Bigger, The Better
Principal Physiotherapist Sylvia Ho advises to make a conscious effort to switch from using your smartphone endlessly, especially at home. A desktop computer is better than a laptop, which is better than a tablet, which in turn trumps a phone.
If you’re unable to choose your device, try reducing the time spent in a sitting and increasing frequency instead. The idea is to get your neck out of the strained position quicker, thereby reducing the constant load.
Countless mobile apps, endless achy necks
Over 70% of patients that visit us with neck pains are diagnosed with text neck. In the clinic, manual therapy releases the tight muscles and mobilises the cervical joints that turn stiff from looking down. It is also important to strengthen the cervical extensors at the base of the neck, allowing the lower cervical spine to remain in a more neutral position.
Ultimately, while physiotherapy can fix such neck pains, the key to prevention is altering your posture. Take a break from that smartphone and have a look around you.