Why Text Neck Is “Replying All” to Remote Workers
If you’re one of the 70 percent of office employees mandated to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be in danger of developing text neck syndrome. While Orlin & Cohen has been monitoring and treating this orthopedic injury since it emerged in 2018, there has been a dramatic increase in cases connected to the recent increase in working remotely. In fact, an American Chiropractic Association study found that 92 percent of surveyed chiropractors reported patients with more back and neck pain since epidemic stay-at-home orders were put in place.
Let’s revisit text neck symptoms and explore why it’s more common now.
What Is Text Neck?
Text neck is an overuse injury caused by continuously lowering your head toward a screen at an unnatural angle. Why would this cause an injury? For every 15 degrees your neck is bent, the weight of your head puts more than double the pressure on your neck. This pressure can result in soreness, shoulder tightness, chronic headaches and more, and, if left untreated, can lead to depression, neurological issues, early-onset arthritis and other serious conditions.
Why Is It More Common Now?
As people transitioned to working from home, few knew how long the change would last. Most people went from working at an ergonomically optimized workstation to spending 40 hours a week on the couch, at the kitchen table, or even in bed while they worked, which required them to be in a near-constant hunched position. Furthermore, remote workers have been found to move less frequently at home than they did in an office environment, giving their body fewer breaks from its strained positions.
How Can I Avoid It?
In addition to the variety of preventative steps we covered when we first addressed text neck—such as using voice commands when possible and stretching regularly—sufferers who only began to exhibit symptoms as they worked remotely can take more steps to avoid this injury:
- Replicate the ergonomic workspace you had at your office. Your workspace should enable you to sit with your shoulders above your hips and your ears above your shoulders (so no laying down in bed with a laptop on your stomach), view your screen at eye level (even if that means you need to prop your laptop or monitor on a box or books), and be seated in a position where your feet can rest on the ground.
- Take frequent breaks. This will also go a long way to avoiding text neck by allowing your body to move around.
Have you been experiencing neck pain since you began working from home, or any other orthopedic injury? Contact Orlin & Cohen, Long Island’s top orthopedic team, to consult with one of our fellowship-trained neck subspecialists. Immediate appointments are available: Request yours now.