Pokeman GO-ers beware: Constant texting, chatting and playing on smart phones or tablets can leave you in pain.
The Ontario Chiropractic Association is cautioning consumers to reduce pressure on their neck and spine by limiting time for texting, networking on social media or playing games on cell phones as it can cause ‘text neck.’
The term refers to the pain and strain on the back of neck and upper spine as a result of constantly looking down at a mobile device.
“When you are looking down at your phone, even 15 degrees, it’s really an awkward posture and you are putting weight on your neck,” said Dr. Jade Egonia, a Peel chiropractor and spokesperson of Ontario Chiropractic Association. “Right now, more than 50 per cent of my patients come with text neck. Some of them with headache too, because when muscles in the back of neck are tight and tense, it also cause headache.”
She said majority of her text neck patients are teenagers, youth and those who work in an office environment, mainly those in desk jobs.
“Pokemon GO is also a new craze, which attracts people towards the phone,” said Egonia.
According to a recent study, conducted by TNS Global market research, an average millennial – aged 16 to 30 with internet access – spends 3.2 hours a day on mobile devices, which is almost a day a week, or 49 days a year.
Egonia suggested mobile users reduce stress on the neck by paying attention to their posture.
“There is a 20-20-20 rule to follow. It means that every 20 minutes stop using your phone, look up for 20 seconds and look 20 feet away from you phone or desk.
“Most of the time pain goes away just by correcting the posture,” said Egonia.
Following are some tips to minimize stress on neck:
* Take a break: Holding phone or tablet for extended periods of time can strain the muscles in the shoulders, arms and fingers. Put down the device and let your arms rest;
* Follow the 20-20-20 rule;
* Change it up: Try not to remain in the same position for longer than 30 minutes. A short walk can help muscles relax;
* Aim higher: Reduce neck strain by bringing your phone or tablet closer to eye level. When reading or watching lectures on a tablet, let your arms rest by propping the device up against something; and
* Stretch it out: Do simple exercises to stretch neck muscles, such as slowly turn your head towards the left shoulder and hold for five seconds. Do the same on your right side and you’re done.
Visit www.chiropractic.on.ca for more information.