The best protection and care for your neck when using smartphones and tablets
The posture of your neck can have serious implications for your health. It can negatively affect your neck joints and muscles and lead to issues in mood and sleep.
The result for many is neck pain, while for others it can be muscle tension, headaches and fatigue. It can affect lung volume and breathing. It can affect an entire quality of life.
Statistically, neck pain is a widespread disorder with a yearly prevalence of 16.7% to 75.1% of the general population.* Clinically, neck pain is on the higher range of that spectrum and increasing steadily with the use of phones and tablets combined with the high demands of a busy life and longer work hours.
We look down every day. We look down when we: use phones and electronic devices, read, knit & sew, cook meals, clean dishes, and workout. We look down even when we walk.
According to 2019 phone use statistics:**
- The average time spent on smartphones is 171 minutes a day (2hrs 51mins)
- The average time spent on smartphones AND tablets is 261 minutes a day (4hrs 33mins)
- The average user spends 76 minutes a day (1hr 16mins) on the top 5 social media apps
- The average user will tap, swipe, click their phone 2,617 times a day
- Out of 18-29-year-old smartphone owners surveyed, 22% check their phone every few minutes, 51% check a few times an hour
The effect adds up after so many small repeated stressors, minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day. Until it becomes a problem and it’s too late.
It’s not that you look down once, it’s that you look down so often and for so long.
The head of an average adult weighs around 10-12 pounds in a neutral position. It is shown that as the head tilts forward the forces that the head places on the neck increases significantly to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees & 60 pounds at 60 degrees.***
Therefore the typical texting position can increase the weight of the head by 5 times. This means that looking down at a cell phone can be equal to placing a 60-pound weight on one’s neck.
The muscles, tendons, and ligaments dampen the stresses seen by the neck (cervical spine). These are the body structures that take the repeated insult over time and become injured. As these important supports give way, it then places unnecessary stress on the joints and discs creating excessive wear over time.
However, the risk and harm that comes with looking down can be alleviated, and even prevented.
There is a strong correlation between the drop angle of your phone and the amount of bending of your neck. You need to be aware when your neck is bent too far forward and in a harmful position. This is where the Neck Advisor app helps, it can protect you from the excessive stress over time that poor posture places on your neck.
When using ‘Test Mode’ in the Neck Advisor app, you will be notified over a short duration when the drop angle of your phone is too low, and gently reminded to adjust to a proper neck posture to alleviate the stress on your neck. This will help you better understand the best position to be in for healthy neck alignment and guide you to best protect your neck.
Because everyone has individual differences, the phone drop angle can be adjusted to a level that is suitable for a helpful notification. If you can maintain proper neck alignment at a lower phone drop angle than someone else, you can adjust for that.
Adjust Neck Advisor app to your desired settings
Receive notifications to adjust your viewing angle
Please note that this program cannot run continuously in the background of your Apple device. All Apple Apps can only run in the background for 45-60 seconds before they reset. Therefore, this is a neck posture-training feature, not an ongoing notification.
Neck Advisor also provides safe and effective self-massage foam roller therapy videos and instructions to show you the proper technique for therapeutic massage on your neck. The neck does not need to have pain for it to be beneficial and prevent neck pain. If pain does exist, the rolling techniques, when done right and often enough, can alleviate many sources of pain in the neck.
By avoiding the regular chin drop, that typically occurs when using a smartphone or tablet, and using therapeutic foam roller therapy, you will avoid hurting your neck, speed up the recovery of your neck, and ultimately protect your neck the best way you can.
Videos and instructions on foam roller therapy that teach you self-massage for care of your own neck muscles.
*Fejer R, Kyvik KO, Hartvigsen J. The prevalence of neck pain in the world population: a systematic critical review of the literature. Eur Spine J. 2006;15:834–848.
*Hogg-Johnson S, van der Velde G, Carroll LJ, Holm LW, Cassidy JD, Guzman J, Côté P, Haldeman S, Ammendolia C, Carragee E, Hurwitz E, Nordin M, Peloso P. The burden and determinants of neck pain in the general population: results of the bone and joint decade 2000–2010 task force on neck pain and Its associated disorders. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2009;32(2 Suppl):S46–60.
*Shariat A, Tamrin SB, Arumugam M, Danaee M, Ramasamy R. Prevalence rate of musculoskeletal discomforts based on severity level among office workers. Acta Med Bulg. 2016;43:54–63.
**Turner, Ash. (2019). Smartphone Addiction Facts & Phone Usage Statistics: The Definitive Guide 2019. Retrieved from https://www.bankmycell.com/blog/smartphone-addiction/
***Hansraj Kenneth K. Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head. Surgical Technology International XXV. 2014.