Today’s urban lifestyle normally implies being always logged on some device, be it a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Deskbound lifestyles unavoidably lead to hundreds of hours spent with your body looking like a human question mark—head protruding forward, shoulders rounding up and stomach approaching your knees.
Several conditions lead to neck and upper shoulder discomforts – overstraining your neck muscles the previous day, unusual sleeping positions, twisting your head severely during exercise, having a Smartphone Syndrome posture, or spending hours bent over your desk.
Still, it’s crucial not to underestimate the possibility for developing Smartphone Syndrome, also referred to as Text Neck, an injury that affects neck muscles, your upper back, forearms, wrists and hands caused by a mixture of improper posture, excessive texting and smart phone use.
You probably didn’t know that every inch the head moves forward, it increases the head weight by surprising 10 pounds! When a 12-pound head is held frontward from the shoulders by only 3 inches, it accounts for 42 pounds of pressure on your neck and upper back muscles.
The posture of rounded shoulders makes your upper back muscles overstretch thus contracting your chest muscles. It can additionally compress the brachial plexus which is a system of nerves running from the neck to the armpit region and down the arms. Multiple issues occur from brachial plexus impairment, including hand numbness, thoracic outlet syndrome or carpal tunnel symptoms.
Avoid Smartphone Syndrome in 4 Easy Steps:
Bring your cell phone to eye level instead of slanting your head down to the phone. It will decrease your forward head posture that strains your upper back and neck muscles.
Use a hands-free headset to avoid straining both your neck and forearms by holding your Smartphone to your ear.
Do the Chin Tucks and Wall Angels exercise to strengthen your neck and back muscles.
The Chin Tuck exercise helps reversing forward-head posture by strengthening the neck muscles.
You can do this exercise either by sitting or standing. Roll your shoulders back and down. As you’re looking straight ahead, put two fingers on your chin, slightly tucking your chin in and moving your head backward. Hold it for 3 to 5 seconds and then release it. Repeat this 10 times.
Tip: Making more double chin in this exercise will lead to stronger effects. When you’re in a parked car, you can do the Chin Tuck pressing the back of your head into the headrest for 3 to 5 seconds. Do this 15 to 20 times.
Slightly bend your knees by keeping your feet about 4 inches away from the wall.
Bring your shoulder blades together and compress them, forming the letter “W” with your arms while keeping your gluts, spine and head against the wall. Hold for 3 seconds.
In massage therapy, more time should be spent on your upper back, neck, forearms, wrists and hands.