TEXT NECK: The Technology Epidemic
Feeling stiff, achy back, thumb, neck or elbow pain? Maybe you’re a victim of the technology era. Information has never been so readily available, the answer for any questions is “Google it”. The enhancement technology has on business and education cannot be underestimated, but like anything that’s good, there has to be catch!
“Children as young as seven years old use screens three hours a day”. I read this article in the Irish Independent this week. The article was based on a study that suggested that one in twenty Irish children are obese. It was interesting to see the correlation between screen time and child obesity. Well that fact is we all could do with reducing our screen time!
Ok, the problem lies with overuse. Sitting in front of the screen for hours at work, browsing through your tablet/phone, watching TV, we are spending more and more time in front of the screen. As a human being we are simply not designed for it. Holding your body in a prolonged position is going to inevitably have profound effects on your joints and muscles.
Did you ever notice that dull ache in-between your shoulder blades when you are at the computer in work? I bet you will especially notice it on the drive home from work. This is your muscle’s screaming at you because they are hanging on for dear life! Now, you begin to notice the pain moving into your lower back and you can’t get comfortable while trying to get through that important assignment. The problem has now escalated. Neck feels really tired and weak... that’s what I would call ‘text neck’. These are issues we can all relate to at some point.
What can we do? You can help your children by reducing their screen time and I know how difficult it could be. I have a four-month old baby and he is fascinated with the light from the phone. So I can already see how a parent may allow their child to entertain themselves with technology, sure you would do anything to keep them quiet for a period of time. But as adults we still have to use technology, go to work and pay the bills that’s life! Time is a major constraint also; we never have enough time to get the work done or look after ourselves. This is the biggest mistake! You have to look after yourself first. You will be a hell of a lot more efficient if you’re not feeling achy or stiff. Pain is the biggest distraction out there and massage is the quickest and most effective way of getting relief. If you can’t prevent the risk, manage the risk!
- Switch of all screens at least a half an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted from the screen mimics daylight and will decrease the secretion of a hormone call melatonin which essentially makes you tired and allows for a good night’s sleep.
- Understand that your kids are going to be influenced by you! Try and keep computer or phone use to a minimum in the home.
- At work take a two-minute break (every 30 minutes) to walk around and stretch the legs. The brain can only focus for 20 minutes at a time so regular breaks in theory should increase productivity.
- Position your computer screen at eye level - this is known as Ergonomics. Google it !!!