5 Steps to Prevent Text-Neck
In the age of digital everything, life has changed. Where once physical labor, industrial jobs and being on your feet were in the majority, many have been replaced by computers, tablets and teleconferencing all while being seated and holding a phone with one hand while typing with the other. The changes in habits that have occurred are leading to a new age of body response in the form of "text neck" as seen in the postural presentation in the image above.
From toddlers to teens, adults to senior citizens, the one constant when in a public has become a face focused on a phone and not usually in a healthy postural manner. The average person can be seen looking like a standing or seated C-shaped being with absolute focus on the magical phone. Even the greatest of physical specimens will find themselves drawn to this position when an interest takes hold on social media or an urgent text message...what can be done?
The 5 Steps:
1) Identify and assess your habits
Begin by looking at what you do throughout the course of the morning, day and night. This exercise can be done in minutes and will help identify where positive changes could be made. Assess how you sit when at home, stand when talking to friends, sit at your work desk or in your car on the way home from work. How do you use your cell phone when seated versus standing? Do you bring your head and face to meet your phone or the other way around? Begin contemplating if it may be possible to improve any of these actions and you're off to a great start.
2) Work with a professional
You can take the assessment work out of your own hands by seeking the assistance of a professional who deals with posture on a daily basis. By doing so you will ensure the greatest possibility of preventing text neck and future related neck pains. The top professionals to work with would be those who will properly identify what your current scenario is and what it could become if nothing were to change. Chiropractors are specifically trained in structural biomechanics and are the initial recommendation I would give for anyone looking to assess their posture and make improvements where necessary regarding text-neck, posture and neck pain.
3) Work on your posture
Nothing can take the place of time and effort when it comes to posture. You truly get what you work for and your posture will be the result. If you wish to have good posture, it must be worked for and become second nature. It is as simple as sit up, stand up straight, shoulders back, head up and chest out. The hard part is taking action.
4) Take a break from your phone/electronics
Simply taking a break from your phone or computer, even if in small increments, can be incredibly effective. Set an alarm on your phone if you will be seated at a desk so that you can get even a small amount of movement at certain times. Longer periods between use would be optimal but we'll shoot for small change and work to big first!
5) Position your workplace properly
One way to give yourself the upper hand on posture is to assemble your work area to your benefit. If a standing desk is an option, take it. If raising your computer to the height of your vision is possible, do so. There are plenty of instructional videos that can be found online for arranging a workstation and area. If you would like further help, many organizations now have wellness coordinators for the specific purpose or overall employee wellness and may be able to help. At the very least you are always able to seek the help of a doctor.
Additional resources for consideration:
Massage therapy, physical therapy, yoga and pilates...there are numerous routes by which one can begin to make positive strides for posture and preventing text-neck. Start with step 1 and you're on your way to a better health future. Best of luck and keep your head up!