How Much is Text Neck Affecting Teenagers in 2022?
How often do you see teenagers with their necks pointed downward looking at a phone? Text neck is caused by repetitive stress to the neck due to looking down at a phone for excessive periods of time while texting. This new neck injury is impacting teens worldwide because of the widespread overuse of cell phones. According to the National Center for Biological Information (NCBI), neck pain is one of the most common health conditions among adolescents.
Today, we will discuss how much text neck affects teenagers in 2022 and how this injury can affect the body over time.
How Much Does Text Neck Affect Teenagers?
There can be major physical, mental, and biological effects on people with text neck syndrome. The National Center of Biotechnology Information noted that text neck syndrome affects 75% of teens worldwide.
Without tackling text neck syndrome early on, teenagers can develop poor posture. While that may seem minor at first, it can eventually lead to things like hunched backs or slumped shoulders. If our bodies are exposed to these unnatural positions for long periods of time, aches and pains usually follow. Here are several examples of injuries that can occur when experiencing severe text neck.
When the shoulders and head lean toward their phone, it causes more neck flexion. Neck flexion is the angle that determines how much strain and stress is on a teenager’s head and neck while they look down to text. It’s not uncommon for neck flexion to cause postural damage, which can take time to re-correct and manage.
If teenagers continue to text without being conscious of the neck flexion, this can lead to abnormalities like cervical spine curvature. The top of the spine will begin to curve dramatically, and the shoulders will hunch. Our spines are meant to be as straight as possible. Unnatural curves in the spine can lead to different aches and pains that you can experience throughout a regular day.
Where and Why is Text Neck Happening?
Neck pain is an emerging 21st-century syndrome considered the eighth most popular health condition for adolescents between fifteen and nineteen. As one of the most common teenage health problems, neck pain can drastically influence the musculoskeletal development of adolescents.
Text neck is a common syndrome across the world – not just in the United States – because of how often we use our smart devices. The availability of things like iPads and smartphones is also a contributing factor. Many children start using smart devices at a very young age and are accustomed to having them as a part of their daily lives.
Text neck syndrome occurs when teenagers endure extreme pressure on their spine. Focusing on good posture helps your spine stay aligned and healthy. Reducing screen usage eliminates the main cause for text neck. Of course, it’s not realistic to have every teenager in the world stop using their phones.
The Health Effects
1. Severe Neck Pain
Text neck causes pain to teens’ necks by consistently placing pressure on the tendons, ligaments, and muscles in their neck and upper back. According to Spine Health, there are ways to be on your phone for long periods of time without experiencing text neck. However, most people don’t have the proper posture when texting. Typically, we tend to lean our necks too far forward, which can lead to different injuries.
Neck pain can be debilitating. Especially for teenagers that are active, it can completely derail their lives. Text neck can force teens to sit out of the big sports game that they have coming up. They may be unable to participate in things like school dances or field trips. Not to mention, focusing on a test is not easy if you’re in excruciating pain.
2. Poor Posture
Regardless of the smart devices in our lives, posture doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Then through a smartphone loaded with addicting games and social media platforms, it becomes a different story.
Posture is, fortunately, something that we mostly have control over, depending on your actual bone structure. People that have bad posture can do things to correct it. Altering your bad posture is much easier when it’s caught early on. Habits that are engrained in us for years are tougher to break. If we can identify posture shifts due to text next early on, teenagers have a much better shot at correcting it without too much friction.
Actionable Strategies to Prevent Text Neck
There’s no question that our phones are addicting. The internet is filled with endless entertainment. You can spend hours scrolling through funny photos without realizing how long you’ve actually been on your device.
As mentioned before, habits are difficult to break. Fortunately, humans are adaptable. This is especially true for teenagers that haven’t been stuck in bad habits for too long. If you know someone that is suffering from text neck, suggest some of these actionable tips to prevent text neck.
Take Breaks From Your Devices
We know that excessive screen usage is the main reason for neck pain. Additionally, we understand that going cold turkey and not using your devices at all is likely unrealistic. Instead, an effective way to prevent text neck is to take more breaks from your devices.
If you find yourself scrolling for hours without taking your eyes off your screen, stand up and walk around for a few minutes. If you still feel the need to use your device during this time, you can by listing to a song or podcast while your phone rests in your pocket. Overall, it’s important to give your neck a break from the unnatural position of looking downward for too long. Movement and mobility are essential for preventing aches and pains throughout your body, especially your neck.
Become More Aware of Your Posture
Improving posture is a guaranteed way to prevent text neck in teenagers. We assume that you will still use your devices consistently. While you use them, be aware of your posture. Do you find yourself slouching more when you watch a video versus read a blog online? Keep an eye on your posture and practice sitting up straight while using a device.
Straighten your spine, put your shoulders back, and open your chest. Keep your head parallel to the ground, and lift your phone higher towards your face while texting. At first, it might feel awkward, but that is okay! Holding your phone at your waist and looking down for long periods of time is what contributes to text neck. Stand or sit tall and proud when using your devices to help prevent pains in your neck and upper back.
Stretching is key to avoiding injuries. Many teenagers probably think that they don’t need to stretch. They are already naturally flexible and don’t get injured often.
If you practice a consistent stretching routine, you help active muscle groups and keep them strong. Your neck is being used constantly throughout the day by holding your head in place. Perform different neck and shoulder stretches to increase your flexibility and mobility in these areas.
Stretching is easy to add to your morning routine. Consider doing them right after jumping out of bed, before even looking at your phone. This helps avoid the chatter that ensues through floods of texts and emails
Text neck continues to plague teenagers across the world. Since smart devices are not going away, what can we do? Become more aware of your posture, add stretches to your routine, and take breaks from your devices to help prevent text neck. Our bodies are adaptable and can recover from aches and pains caused by things like this. Consistent efforts towards self-care are key to increasing your overall wellness and avoiding injuries like text neck.