Modern technology has provided near limitless possibilities that were barely even a thought only twenty years ago, but reliance on modern-day convenience has many people wondering, “Can your smartphone cause pain in the neck?” As chiropractors across the nation are seeing an uptick in the number of patients who are smartphone users seeking relief from neck pain, the evidence somewhat speaks for itself.
How often and long you use your smartphone, combined with the posture you exhibit during use can be strikingly accurate indicators of whether you will experience neck pain as a result, now or even several months or more into the future.
How Much Are We Using Our Smartphones Today?
Before discussing what our bodies, and more specifically our necks, do when we are on a smartphone, it is important to acknowledge how many of us have these devices and how much we are using them.
- It is estimated that approximately seventy-five percent of Americans own a smartphone, a number that seems to increase annually.
- Smartphones are used for far more than just texting and calling. Adults are using this technology for social media, news intake, shopping, reading a book, and playing games. Teenagers tend to use smartphones primarily for social media, games, streaming, and school. Both demographics also use their smartphones to listen to music.
- The smartphone is becoming a primary source of internet access for users because it is more convenient than firing up a computer or laptop.
- It is estimated that on average most Americans check their smartphones between sixty and one hundred times a day. For those who use their phones to regularly conduct business or help with school, that number can go up.
- As a result of the above, on average most adults spend up to ten hours a day consuming media, and for teenagers that number tends to be roughly the same, despite being at school for hours each day.
What The Neck Does When We Are Using Our Smartphones And Why It Matters
Pick up your smartphone and pay attention to what movement your neck makes. Likely when you looked down at the smartphone screen, your head bent forward and changed the curvature of the neck. While the body is made to have a range of motion which includes being able to look down, it is not designed to sustain that movement repeatedly, hour after hour and day after day.
The neck holds up the head, which is usually around eleven pounds. However, when you change your posture that number can drastically change. For example, a user who puts their phone in their lap and has to practically put the chin to the chest to see it, that can put as much as sixty pounds of force on the neck which may eventually equal painful sensations.
Realistically, a repeated and sustained forward bend of the neck daily to look at your smartphone can cause problems beyond just pain in the neck. Over time this motion may also cause pain to be felt in the back and shoulders as well.
How To Prevent Pain in the Neck from Looking at A Smartphone
If it is possible for your smartphone to cause pain in the neck by changing the positioning of the neck, it may also be possible to improve the body’s posture with some more natural remedies:
- Keep screens eye level when possible. Make an effort to hold the smartphone up higher so you are not having to look so far down. Also ensure that any other screens such as a computer monitors are eye level so it is not further negatively impacting your posture when away from the smartphone.
- Practice better posture. With as much as society uses and depends on the smartphone, it is unrealistic to quit using it altogether. However, you can take steps toward preventing neck pain by simply making an effort to practice better posture throughout the day, in which the ear sits directly over the shoulder.
- Do regular stretching. Balance some of the time you spend leaning the neck forward by doing the opposite. By periodically arching the neck and upper back backwards, it may provide some much needed balance for the muscles.
- Exercise. Getting the body moving helps the body’s joints function in a healthier way. Exercising can be key to supporting the muscles in the neck, back, and shoulders.
- Take care of the body. While often an afterthought for most people, even making an effort to stay hydrated, eat well, and get enough sleep may be beneficial for minimizing inflammation and pain in the body and neck.
These simple practices can help individuals be proactive in minimizing neck pain related to looking at their smartphone. It is important to note that for some people this may not be enough, and those people should consider services of a reputable Kingwood chiropractor.
How Chiropractors Address Pain in the Neck from Looking at Smartphones
Despite a person’s best efforts to take better care of their posture and body in regard to smartphone usage and form, pain that develops in the neck may require further attention. Neck and back pain, both of which can result from poor body form while using this device, are two of the top reasons patients report visiting a Kingwood chiropractor for pain management and relief.
While a chiropractor’s goal is to help minimize pain for the patient, they typically choose to do so by looking for and addressing the root cause of that pain. From there, these professionals will create a treatment plan with the patient that will help to restore joint motion and reduce pain.
When receiving treatment from a chiropractor, patients should expect little to no reliance on medications. Most chiropractors instead choose to treat patients by prescribing them a detailed plan of customized exercises that are designed to strengthen the muscles, which can in turn lower the risk for pain.
A chiropractor’s treatment plan for each individual is unique based on the severity and duration of pain a patient is experiencing. A patient’s pain level and commitment to performing prescribed exercises and stretches will generally dictate the length and frequency of future treatments.
Stop wondering, “Can your smartphone cause pain in the neck?” and acknowledge that your posture plays a critical role in how you might answer this question. If you are experiencing chronic pain in the neck, make an appointment with a highly respected Kingwood chiropractor today.