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What is text neck?Just like I feel we all suffer a case of mental obesity from time to time, we are also subjected to a case of text neck. What is text neck? Well you probably don’t have to strain too hard to figure it out.
In fact, chances are favorable that you’re showing signs of it right now! It’s pretty self-explanatory. Just look at the position you are in while reading this. Are you slouched forward? Is your head down at an angle? Are your neck and shoulders rounded? Then you have text neck.
Do you remember the song The Cause by NOFX? It’s really good. You should go listen to it really quick and come back. And when I say “really quick,” I’m not kidding. It’s only a minute and 37 seconds long! It’s cool. I’ll wait…
OK, back to our regularly scheduled program. The severity of this condition varies from person to person. There are some who have an excessively obvious curvature and there are others who wear it more subtly. But if you tend to hold your phone down in front of your body while texting or typing for long periods of time, you are laying a really strong foundation for this unwanted postural distortion. In the words of the great Bob Newhart, STOP IT!
Why is text neck a problem? That’s actually a multi-faceted answer. Here are a few very good reasons why.
1. First of all, it doesn’t look good. Looks might not be everything, and they are sometimes deceiving, but your appearance does account for a lot. Especially if you are going for a job interview, have an important business meeting or are delivering a presentation on the mating of the wildebeast.
You don’t want to walk around town with your head curved downward like a weeping willow branch. You want to stand upright with your eyes looking forward and shoulders back. This will make you look more confident and you’ll be more likely to attract the attention of the opposite sex. There’s never anything wrong with that, right?
2. Do you like the current position of your organs? If you do not like to suffer from shortness of breath, poor circulation, dizziness and intestinal discomfort, then you SHOULD like the position your organs are currently in. If you develop text neck though, it can lead to postural distortions elsewhere in your body and thus affect your organs. You are best served, striving for good posture to avoid all these side effects completely.
3. A lot of people like to brag about the fact that they have a high pain tolerance. Not this guy! I’m a big baby and I’ll be the first to admit it. Maybe with some things I’m good dealing with pain, but for the most part I whine like a two-year-old when the most minor of scraps takes place. It’s alllll good though. Everyone is different.
When it comes to text neck, the pain I’m referring to is in your actual neck and shoulders. Put yourself in the shoes of your traps and smaller neck muscles for a second. Do you think they like having to work overtime to hold your melon up when it’s sagging down like a bag of Granny Smith apples? No, they don’t! Those muscles start to get stressed and tired, causing you discomfort and pain.
4. Lastly, there’s nothing quite like a headache to stop you in your tracks when you’re trying to achieve something great. Text neck can cause this to happen. And if you’re really unlucky, you can get the trifecta of neck, shoulder and head pain in one feel swoop.
Now that we got the problems out of the way, let’s get down to the solution. Corrective exercises come to mind first and foremost. Restorative Arts tools like Indian clubs, wands and meels strengthen muscles that are weak and stretch muscles that are tight in a way that no other tools can. AND, you only need to use them in short bouts of time. This is exactly why I love them so much and use them daily.
Another thing you can do is simply pay attention to your body alignment at ALL times. This means when you are sitting at home watching TV, driving, writing love notes to your girlfriend on your phone and typing emails on your computer. Just like cleaning up your diet, it’s all about having discipline and creating awareness.
Sit up as straight as possible, pull your shoulders back and never slouch! I had a substitute teacher in middle school who used to always yell at us for slouching, and we’d hate it. But now, I look back and realize why. I still didn’t like her because she was meaner than a flock of starving seagulls and treated us like a bunch of imbeciles. But I do agree that you shouldn’t slouch.
Pay close attention to the way you walk too. More often then not, I see people strolling along with their heads down, while sipping something in a gargantuan-sized container through a straw. I can only imagine what’s in there! More importantly, I get a contact high of pain in my neck, just looking at them.
You can avoid this by standing up straight when you walk, pulling your shoulders back and looking up at about a 45-degree angle. Even if you stop at Orange Julius and walk down the mall, you can still have your beverage and drink it too. Remember, god invented arms. Use them to your advantage by lifting your drink to your lips. No one will judge you for that, I promise.
And since we’re on the topic of raising your arms, do the same when you are texting. Duh… After all, the title of this article IS Text Neck! It should stand to reason that we need to make adjustments in the way we position our phone.
It’s actually quite easy. Lift your phone up in front of your face and pay close attention to your neck. Make sure it is not bent forward. There, simple! Now feel free to text, read, write and game as you please.
The last thing I’d like to cover is your mechanics while working out. For god’s sake, don’t even get me started on the atrocities I witness in the gym! Heads hanging down, dumbbells clanging together, shoulders rounded, backs rounded when they should be arched, backs arched when they should be rounded, weights being slung this way and that… Grunts, groans, less then optimal range of motion; the list goes on and on. Let’s go back to STOP IT!
If your form is poor, it will lead to bad posture and possibly text neck. There are no two ways around it. Focus on picture-perfect form with every exercise you do. Ideally, 90% quality or better is your aim. Once you go below 90% quality on a set then STOP IT! And be honest with yourself. If the weight is too heavy, go lighter. It’s not that complicated.
There is nothing gorgeous or sexy about text neck. If you want to shine at your job, in the gym and in the presence of the opposite sex, work on fixing it right now by following the tips I gave you. If you currently don’t have it, good for you. Stay that way by following the tips I just gave you!
And if you haven’t signed up for My Six-pack Challenge yet, you should – your first week is absolutely free! Every workout I designed is geared toward correcting your posture while targeting your core, and improving your flexibility, balance and lean muscle mass.
Until next time, my name is K/Rail. I tell it like it is and say it like I see it!
Hey Fitness Challenger - Spread the Love and Share This Post!