Text neck: How texting can damage your neck

Looking down at your phone for long periods can cause lasting damage

What Texting Does To Your Neck
'Text neck' is a group of symptoms doctors say we have developed from the way we hold our media devices - our phones specifically.

The symptoms can vary from person to person. But the most common are: neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches, tension, and difficulty in turning the head from side to side.

When we text, we tend to keep the head leaning forward away from natural upright position. Most people's heads weigh between 10 and 12 pounds, but the further it moves away from its natural position, the more force it applies to your neck.

As you pitch your head forward, it becomes heavier - up to six times its normal weight. This can cause significant strain over long periods of time.

An epidemic

In 2014, a US doctor said 'text neck' is becoming an epidemic that could lead to permanent damage.

The research, reported in The Guardian, said smartphone users are now spending an average of two to four hours a day with their heads dropped down. This results in "700 to 1,400 hours a year of excess stresses seen about the cervical spine".

So, what can we do? Doctors advise taking regular breaks from your phone and altering the texting head position to avoid problems.

It's advised we should lift the phone up when texting, which forces us to lift our heads. We should also keep our shoulders back and breathe deeply.

The NHS list some helpful exercises, including gently lengthening your neck upwards as you tuck in your chin.