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Is Being Social a Real Pain in the Neck?
Is being social a real pain in the neck?

Is Being Social a Real Pain in the Neck?

Tuesday, August 22, 2023


If you’re active on social media, you may have seen friends share posts asking you to respond to a question such as “list something that’s common now but was unheard of 25 years ago.”  First, don’t take the bait. They’re originally posted by scammers fishing for clues to your passwords and identity. If you can’t resist trying to come up with a clever answer, here’s one that could trump everyone else – Text Neck.  

Text Neck, or “tech nech,” is a repetitive stress injury caused by excessive texting or mobile device use. When the head is tilted forward over screens, the upper body compensates by shifting backward and the hips tilt forward. Leaning forward and looking down causes the weight of the head to increase, increasing the strain on the neck and upper back. This entire unconscious process puts stress on the vertebral column and surrounding muscles, causing neck and shoulder pain, stiffness, soreness, headaches, neck spasms and creaky shoulder joints, for starters.  

Long term, the misalignment of the spine can lead to muscle and nerve damage, disc degeneration, early onset arthritis, decreased lung capacity and the development of a hump commonly found in elderly women.  

For many, long term is here. A 2021 study in the International Journal of Studies reported that 73% of university students and 64.7% of people who work from home complained of neck, back pain or other problems linked with mobile phones, laptop and tablet use. A January 2023 report released by Common Sense Media found that teens (ages 13-18) average nine hours of online entertainment per day and tweens (ages 8-12) average six, not including time spent in front of a screen for school or homework.  

To avoid what researchers and medical personnel claim is a pending epidemic of musculoskeletal problems, adults should follow these tips and encourage their children to do the same:  

  • Take breaks often, pausing to tilt the head upward and look at the ceiling (also called neck extensions). Repeat the movement 10 to 15 times an hour. During the next break, stretch your hands backwards and lock your fingers. Another time, stand and roll your shoulders, rotate your neck, stretch your calf and hamstring muscles, and do a lateral stretch.   

  • Adjust your desk and chair so the devices you’re using are at eye level. You might need to buy a better chair and/or invest in a standing desk. Invest in a monitor stand. Use tablet and smartphone holders to avoid looking down at those screens for long periods of time.  

  • Sit and/or stand straight. It may be difficult at first, but it’s important to keep your spine straight to correct damage or avoid it altogether.  


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Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.