Chances are, you use your cell phone for majority of the day. Yes, it’s essential to be on your phone for work purposes as well as personal reasons, but one needs to draw a line. Slouching to use your smartphone will lead to pain in your neck and spine. Agnivesh Tikko, Consultant, Spine Surgeon, Apollo Hospitals, Mumbai, and Neeraj Kasat, Chief Joint Replacement Surgeon at Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai. show you how to prevent the text neck syndrome:
Maintain correct posture: It is essential to maintain good body posture while sitting or standing. It is important to stand up straight and keep the neck in line with the trunk.
Hold cellphone at the eye level: Hold the cellphone at eye level and avoid bending the neck forward for a prolonged period. Hold it such that it reduces stress both on the head/neck and the arms.
Take a break: Avoid continuously using smart phones for more than a few minutes. While working on laptops or desktops, take a break for 5 minutes after every 25 minutes of continuous working.
Work ergonomics: Understand the ergonomics of your work place and if necessary, change it to keep a comfortable posture while working. It also increases your ability and work output.
Avoid prolonged static postures: In between working on the desktop/laptop, move your neck regularly with movements like rotations, arching neck backwards and side bends to relieve the muscles of the strain.
Change the hand: Avoid holding large or heavy devices in one hand continuously for a long duration.
Neck exercises: Neck and shoulder exercises help to improve muscle stamina, correct posture and strengthen the neck muscle. Trapezius and levator stretches may help.
Ice/heat packs: Ice/hot packs can be applied to the painful area of the neck or upper back. Some physicians suggest alternate ice and hot packs as well.
Massage: Massage by trained professionals or even just a gentle rubbing can give relief from the stiffness and pain.
Use technology: Use apps and devices which track and calculate the time spent in a static position or with stooped posture and give an analysis of the same.
If the pain continues, it is important to consult a spine specialist and not try any self-medication. Specialists can prescribe pain medication and inject medicine into the facet joint or trigger point for relief from painful text neck.