What the Heck is Text Neck?

11292069_sI read an interesting article on NPR the other day and wanted to share with you how extreme connectivity is possibly impacting our posture and overall health.

Many people are making the choice to use cell phones for extended periods of time each day.  People are consumed with texting, gaming, reading, updating social media posts, and checking and sending emails while on the run.  I’m beginning to wonder if people are consciously aware of how much total time they spend on their cell phones each day and the impact that this activity is having on their posture.

According to research conducted by Kenneth K. Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, more and more people are putting pressure on the upper spine as a result of constantly tilting the head downward to look at an electronic handheld device.  This downward positioning of the neck has created a new term among the medical field called “text neck.”  WebMD offers a definition, education, and advice related to “text neck.”

I have used a cell phone each day for about 16 years, and I’m keenly aware of the impacts my cell phone is having on my overall health.

Here’s some recommendations to encourage you to take frequent breaks away from technology:

  1. Unplug from your technology devices from time to time. If it is an emergency, someone will call.
  2. Bored in a meeting? Take notes, make a to-do list, or draw. Don’t immediately jump to your cell phone and tilt your head downward for the next hour to stay productive. You can be productive in other ways.
  3. Use a desktop computer when possible. My desktop computer workstation offers me the best ergonomics. I can adjust the height of my desktop monitor. When I use my laptop sitting at a desk, kitchen table, couch, airplane, etc., my neck is tilted downward to look at the screen. I do the bulk of my work from a desktop computer and use a laptop when on the road.
  4. Give your eyes a break. There is no doubt our eyes are glued to a screen of some sort for many hours throughout the day (e.g. computer monitor, cell phone, television, movie screen, iPad, etc.) Computer screens can cause us to blink less and can be a source of dry eyes. Integrate activities and breaks throughout your day that do not require you to be looking at a screen.
  5. Face-to-Face communication. I still believe the best way to communicate with family, friends, and co-workers when possible is through face-to-face communication.

The Information Age brings a set of new challenges to the workplace where posture is becoming jeopardized as a result of excessive cell phone usage.  Don’t jeopardize your health.  Limit how much you tilt your head downward and “look up.”

If you do nothing else today, I’d like to invite you to take a couple of minutes to view Gary Turk’s video on “Look Up.”  There is much wisdom in this presentation.  Let’s strive to live life the real way instead of keeping our neck tilting downward and allowing our beautiful world to pass us by.

 

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