How Your Neck Pain Is Slowly Becoming Deadly
Almost everyone with a mobile phone suffers from discomfort in the neck and shoulders, if not actual outright neck pain.
Using mobile phones or any electronic devices over a long period can lead to severe pain in these areas.
Particularly with our heads constantly looking down, we are straining our necks and shoulders in ways we never did before.
This is now a global phenomenon called the text neck syndrome.
Here are the causes, solutions and preventable steps to take in the name of self care.
Text Neck Syndrome
When you tilt your neck to use your mobile or reply to a text (as the name implies), it increases pressure on your spine.
Gravity increases the apparent weight of your head due to your distorted posture which can cause mild to severe aches in your spine.
In the worst-case scenario, this can even lead to a herniated disc in your spine.
A study published in the Central European Centre of Urology linked using mobile phones for more than 4 hours to erectile dysfunction and impotence in men.
This is mindlessly scrolling through news feed. In simple words, you’re constantly scrolling through social media or the internet without actually reading. You’re giving yourself neck pain for no reason.
By continuously doom scrolling, you can seriously harm your mental health as well as your physical health.
It not only causes stress and anxiety but it’s been proven to cause problems such as impulsiveness.
The Goldfish Effect
During the 13 years from 2000 to 2013, the average human attention span decreased from 12 seconds to 8 seconds (1 second less than that of a goldfish).
Social multitasking like scrolling through your Instagram feed while you watch a web series has been studied and shown to impact our episodic memory (the RAM of our brain).
This is causing severe problems for children with reading and analytical thinking.
And perhaps diagnosis such as ADD and ADHD could be prevented from an early age.
A study conducted on 307 university students suggested a relationship between impulsive behavior and social media usage.
As you might know, social media could possibly increase cortisol (stress hormone) levels in your bloodstream.
These could be, but are not limited to:
- Having a difference in opinion without the emotional intelligence of agreeing to disagree.
- Randomly trolling
- Other toxic behaviors such as swiping left so you can feel in control while rejecting others
All this when it adds up could result in impulsive and erratic behavior (if we aren’t mindful of these habits).
Sadness & Depression
Several studies have been conducted linking internet addiction with depression and suicidal tendencies.
Further research and data is being collected for this statement however, it makes sense that showing off a picture perfect life on social media 24/7 could prove to be unrealistic.
Internet addiction is similar to drug addiction except it doesn’t involve substance abuse, but it’s still a form of unhealthy “fix”.
We can only consciously cut back the time we spend on our devices. This will lessen both physical pain and mental strain.
Mobile phones and many other electronic devices emit radiation that can cause damage to the tissues in contact with the device.
IARC (International Agency For Research On Cancer) has declared mobile radiation a carcinogen.
However, research still needs to be done to establish a relationship between smartphones and brain tumors.
Since children don’t have fully developed nervous systems, they are more at risk for developing brain cancer.
Social Anxiety & Awkwardness
People are zoning out in the middle of a conversation and reaching out to their phones.
This is not okay when you are meant to be socialising.
Rather than spending quality time with your family and friends, being hooked on your device is causing more harm than good.
People are engaging with someone they have no relation to online rather than talking to their own spouse and family.
Accidents can also happen when using the device on the streets, be it when driving, riding or even walking. That’s why many countries have laws against the use of mobiles when driving or riding.
It’s not just neck pain either. Use of a mobile is not just about having social anxiety and avoiding eye contact with strangers.
According to the Journal of Medical Internet Research the blue light from mobiles causes severe eye pain which can lead to further damage.
Tip: Click on the red fonts for citations and research materials
The Other Options
Switch to reading hard copies at eye level or listen to an audio book as this doesn’t involve you staring at your device.
Or better yet, find a new hobby that isn’t digital savvy such as sports or hiking.
Setting the reminder on your phone to look ahead or look up every 10 minutes between screen time is also an option.
You’ll be surprised by just how much better you will start to feel.
And when you go for reflexology or shoulder and neck massage, for the love of God put your phone away!
You are not allowing yourself to relax and heal if you have no control over your device.
Simple Yet Effective Home Remedy
Your pillow must be used correctly. Lying correctly will help reduce neck pain. Here are a few simple tips to get you started.
First, make sure there are no gaps between your head and shoulders when lying on your back.
Place a finger over your shoulders and make sure there isn’t a gap. Your shoulders must not be over the pillow or under the pillow but just against the pillow without any gaps.
This places less strain on your neck and will definitely reduce pain on the neck and shoulders.
Secondly, test if your pillow is the right one for you. Comfort isn’t the only thing that you need to look for when choosing the right pillow.
The popular TV show Doctors had one of the doctors show how to correctly use a pillow.
Place a pencil over your forehead. If the pencil falls then it is NOT the right pillow for you because your spine and neck are not in alignment.
So when you go pillow shopping make sure you lie on your back and do this pencil test at all times. No matter what the sales person says, you must be sure that the pencil doesn’t fall.
Try as many different pillows as you need to until the pencil doesn’t fall and remains steady on your forehead horizontally above the eyebrows.
Remember the mattress or floor at the shop is not the same as your own bed.
Your posture would most probably differ so be sure to test it again when you get home.
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