5 tips to prevent painful 'text neck'

A 30-degree downward tilt while reading a hand-held device can exert 18kg of stress on the spine.
A 30-degree downward tilt while reading a hand-held device can exert 18kg of stress on the spine.PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

Long hours of using mobile devices will put a strain on your neck and back.

One consequence could be "text neck" syndrome. It is a type of repetitive stress injury linked to the use of mobile phones that causes a literal pain in the neck.

Some advice from experts on how you can try to prevent developing "text neck":

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