Neck pain is a very common type of chronic pain. According to Spine-Health.com, “In the course of 3 months, about 15% of U.S. adults have neck pain that lasts at least one full day.”
One of the most common causes of neck pain is simply looking down too often. We know that might sound absurd because you can’t live your entire life without looking down at all. Don’t worry, we’re not asking you to.
When a patient comes in complaining of neck pain, we generally ask them what activities they look down for most often. The main culprits are cell phones and laptops. In fact, neck pain caused by looking down is often referred to as ‘text neck’.
Even though the action of looking down is small, the amount of pressure placed on your neck increases with the frequency of the action. Meaning, looking down to write a check shouldn’t cause you pain, but looking down to work from a laptop eight hours a day, five days a week will.
The pressure from looking down will begin to build in your neck, possibly leading to neck pain or soreness, upper back muscle spasms, and even premature disc degeneration.
But don’t fret. There are certain measures you can take to prevent developing neck pain. Below are several simple ways to reduce the likelihood of experiencing this type of pain.
Prevent Neck Pain From Looking Down
Hold Devices at Eye Level
If you believe cell phone usage may be to blame for your pain, try holding your phone higher. Having your phone at eye level eliminates the need to look down at all.
Create a Spine-Friendly Work Environment
If you believe working from a laptop may be a contributing factor, adjust your workspace. You can either place your laptop at eye level and use a separate keyboard, or you can hook your laptop up to a monitor that is at eye level.
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Take Frequent Breaks
If you cannot avoid looking down for long periods of time, take frequent breaks to stretch. To relieve neck pain, gently tilt your head from right to left, holding for about 20 seconds on each side.
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Try Heat Therapy
Heat therapy may be effective in relieving your pain. Try a heating pad on the affected area for 10-20 minutes, 4-6 times per day.
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