Everyone is doing this. You see it in the waiting room as you walk past the other treatment rooms, and you probably start doing it yourself while you’re waiting to see the doctor. It makes the chiropractor cringe to look at, even though they probably are guilty of this, too (including myself). You probably have already guessed it. It is the great postural sin of looking down at your phone.
Each of us has been told or has caught ourselves in this poor posture peering downward, playing on our phone. Even high-profile successes fall victim to these devices. For example, Tom Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl Champion, confessed during his recent Wall Street Journal interview that he spends too much time on social media. “That endless Instagram scroll just sucks up minutes and hours of my day,” Brady stated, “Too many times I get lost, and I look up, and now I’m late for something.” Yes, phones can be a nice distraction, but as time passes, it slowly leads to problems.
The research on phone usage and neck issues is weighed in the theme of inactivity. Looking down to check the time on your phone or sitting on the couch while sending a quick text are not by themselves detrimental to your neck health, but if one holds this poor posture excessively, around 10 hours per week, according to the literature, that is another step down the path of future neck complications.
Unfortunately, these short phone sessions are easy to miss and start adding up. As we see young children playing on electronic tablets more regularly, free from pain at the moment, it is essential to remember that this infamous “Text-Neck” syndrome is a progressive condition. There has been a drastic increase in neck pain amongst children, but it is interesting to note that the older children get, the higher the risk of regularly dealing with neck pain, headaches, and sleep problems. If never addressed and poor postural inactivity continues for years, more complex issues, such as bone degeneration or structural abnormalities, can negatively affect their health.
Fortunately, all of us can act today to combat this. First, the single best thing one can do and replace the bad habits with good habits. Holding your phone up to eye level is a quick, effective step to take the stress off your neck. Second, be active! Keep a timer on your phone to track how often you’re on it. Every 15 minutes, put it down, walk around or get something done without it. Lastly, but still important, keep a chiropractor in your health toolbox. Everyone falls short of perfection when maintaining healthy phone management. Because this is often a structural issue that can affect normal function, regularly getting checked assures that a structural imbalance doesn’t take root and your body can continue to function optimally. Wow! That is a positive note to end on. Things are starting to look up already…