Dr. Siddiqui shared with the Straits Times some common tips on the prevention of a more recent phenomenon, “text neck”. This occurs from excessive usage of mobile devices where the neck is flexed (looking forward and downward) for a prolonged amount of time per day. Some tips to prevent a painful “text neck” include:
1. Avoid excessive flexion of the neck and holding the device at eye level
2. Using an ear-piece
3. Using text-to-speech technology when reading on the mobile device for prolonged periods
4. Taking frequent breaks while using the device
5. Performing stretching exercises
1. MAINTAIN GOOD POSTURE AND HOLD THE MOBILE DEVICE AT EYE LEVEL
The forward tilt of the head can put 18kg of stress on the neck and spine. By holding mobile device at eye level, one no longer needs to bend forward to look at the screen, hence relieving the strain.
2. TAKE BREAKS WHILE USING MOBILE DEVICES
If one unintentionally lapses into poor posture with a forward tilt, prolonged and excessive usage can be damaging. Taking frequent breaks will help to lessen the strain on the neck and help prevent injury.
3. USE A DESKTOP MONITOR AT EYE LEVEL FOR EXTENDED WORK
This can help prevent a sustained bent posture, which users may be prone to when using laptops. Positioning the monitor at eye level also encourages good posture.
4. PERFORM ADEQUATE STRETCHING
Stretching helps to improve blood circulation and relieve the tension and pain caused by poor posture. Some examples of stretches are rolling the shoulders or tilting the head to the left and right.
5. USE WEB VERSIONS OF INSTANT MESSAGING SERVICES
This helps users text without hurting their necks. By using the Web version, users will not have to look down at their smartphones and can maintain better posture.
SOURCES: Dr Mohammad Mashfiqul Arafin Siddiqui, consultant, department of orthopaedic surgery, Singapore General Hospital (SGH); Ms Jennifer Liaw, SGH’s physiotherapy department head; Mr Ram Peruvemba, principal physiotherapist, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital; Stand Corrected team
The article can be found below:
Contributor to the Straits Times 21 March 2017