The other morning I was scrolling through a blog when I noticed a banner ad promoting a magic cream to erase all signs of smart phone neck! I had a good laugh, before, despite myself, wondering if I could be suffering from smartphone neck. Dun dun dun…
After a quick, surreptitious Google search (lest anyone know I was researching something called “smartphone neck”), I learned that the phrase refers to what some also call “turkey neck,” creased skin on the neck resulting from bending your neck one million times over the course of your life.
I suppose this could also be called “reading neck” or “giving-yourself-a-pedicure neck” or simply, “looking down neck.” Whether or not you have a smartphone, if you’re above the age of, I don’t know, 22 (?), you probably have faint lines on your neck. No. Big. Deal. There is no special elixir that can erase all signs of “use of one’s head.”
But that got me thinking about another kind of smartphone neck. If you do have an addicting smart phone or tablet, you’re probably familiar with the neck stiffness that accompanies a ten-minute Instagram binge, no? I certainly am!
Next time you catch yourself in this position, show your neck some love. You can:
1. Make like your sitting (properly) at a computer. Engage your abdominal muscles so that you’re sitting upright with your back flat against the back of the seat. Giving a little attention to your general posture by involving your core will help bring your attention to the rest of your body.
2. Instead of holding your phone by your lap, hold it about one foot (or more) in front of your face so your head is sitting squarely over your shoulders. This will require using a little bit of arm muscle, but you can do it! Your neck will thank you.
3. If you’ve been reading on your phone or tablet for a while, don’t forget the 20-20-20 rule that we apply to computers as well. Every twenty minutes, look at something twenty feet away, for twenty seconds (or more). This will reduce Computer Screen Vision (CVS), or what I call, Pinterest-Induced Eyeball Shutdown. CVS is temporary, but it’s no fun to have. In all seriousness, maintaining good posture and following the 20-20-20 rule helped me endure through oodles of electronic journal articles when I was a grad student. One can only print so much before feeling that one has broken the earth’s forests and one’s binder.
4. Take longer breaks. If you have hours of reading or blogging to do on any electronic device, find an excuse to walk across the room every half hour or so. Make tea. Do five minutes of yoga at your desk. Not only will this help how you feel, this will also remind you that a world exists outside of the work you’re doing. And this perspective promotes sanity!
5. If you are concerned about wrinkles causing from bending over to use your smartphone, massage an antioxidant rich cream or oil on your neck in an upward motion before bed. You can even massage your neck and shoulders while you work! The motion stimulates circulation and may also reduce neck muscle stain. While you’re massaging your neck, close your eyes to give them a rest.
Photos: Joeshoe via Flickr, Morid1n via Flickr.