Even in a crowded room, it’s rare to see people without their cell phones. Tom Reid, a physical therapist with Lee Health, says cell phones can be taking a toll on more than just your social life. “We’ve seen this phenomenon more and more, people are going to the doctor today with neck pain related to over use of their cell phones. Bending their head down to read their cell phone or thumb through social media and they are doing this for many hours during the day and that can lead to pain.”
Physical therapists have even named the problem text neck. “Text neck is a term developed by probably some physicians within research studies. At the end of the day we’re talking about neck pain related to people over utilizing their cell phones in the incorrect posture,” said Reid.
Holding any position for too long can hurt your body. With your head weighing between 12 and 15 pounds, tilting your head forward for a long period of time puts strain on the neck muscles. “Not only does the head go forward but the shoulders go forward and forward shoulder and head posture has long been researched as a problem that can lead to chronic neck and back pain. Those muscles get overworked and then eventually they don’t work well and you’re hanging on your ligaments on your spine,” said Reid.
The treatment sounds simple, instead of looking down at your phone pull your phone up to eye level. “It does look odd, and it almost looks like you’re taking pictures of people as you’re walking around with your cell phone. But it is the correct posture and it will actually help to pull the shoulder back and pull the head up,” said Reid.
Physical therapist can also help patients learn simple neck, back, and shoulder exercises to prevent future problems from text neck. All can help improve posture, taking the strain off the neck.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.