HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Many of us are seriously addicted to smartphones. As in, don't put them down even when we're at the table, or walking on the street, or... you get the idea.
Unfortunately, our obsession with devices may be damaging our health. If you've been feeling a twinge in your neck recently, or some stiffness in your shoulders that wasn't there before... you might be suffering from "text neck."
Yep. It's a real thing. Nicole Roden knows from personal experience.
"I sit at my desk all day and I also am guilty of looking at my smartphone a lot," Roden explained, when WHNT News 19 caught up with her at Huntsville's Medical Mall off Governors Drive. "I guess I really don't think about what I'm doing."
Like many of us, Roden spends several hours a day hunched over her devices. When she started developing significant neck pain, she decided to seek help from physical therapists with Huntsville Hospital.
Clarissa Sharp, a physical therapist with Huntsville Hospital, said she sees the impacts of our digital obsessions all the time. Constant misalignment of the head, neck, shoulders leads to pain and stiffness. Overtime, the discomfort can become chronic.
So, how can you avoid text neck?
First, use only your eyes to glance at a screen. Don't let your neck fall.
If you're reading this right now, stop. Check your posture. Are you hunched over? If so, roll your shoulders up and pull them back. This might feel strange at first but in time... you'll get used to it.
Don't forget to stretch as well.
Sharp recommends a corner stretch or "door stretch" where you put your hands in a door frame and step forward to get the stretch in your chest muscles.
You might also try out a couple of the following apps, designed to help you avoid "text neck."