Neck Pain Incidences Increasing with Digitalization

Are you Internet savvy? If no, you will be the dinosaur of the online world. Today, the young and not so young use their mobiles, ipads, laptops, at work and at home.

There is a vast amount of things people turn to the digital platforms for: 
1. For Shopping: There are numerous e-commerce websites like Amazon and Jabong where you can order from the comfort of your home and have it delivered to your doorstep 
2. For finding information: For school and college students, a search engine like Google helps when they need information to do a project.
3. For locating a place: If you are searching for a new address or even a restaurant in your city or town there are maps which help you to locate the place.
4. For research: Plenty of research papers, latest developments in technology and other fields is available to a person who wants to keep abreast with what’s happening in his/her field of interest.
5. For staying connected: Gone are the days of a telegram or telephone too. Today on a platform like WhatsApp, you can chat, call, share photos and share videos with friends and loved ones.
6. For marriage: Who says marriages are made in heaven? Today matrimonial sites are searched for the perfect partner.
And the list goes on and on…

The shift from walled-in business to online businesses has become the mantra to remain in the business. Even professionals, entertainers, celebrities’ want a piece of the digital cake.

Digital agencies make it happen. From websites to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to Social Media Marketing (SMM), a digital marketing agency will provide a marketing strategy for you to have an online presence through various digital platforms like websites to Facebook to Instagram to Twitter. It is always advisable to take professional services of a digital marketer who has-
1. Local presence: While setting up your online business it is beneficial if you can express your concerns, your goals etc and to the media professional who also has a thorough understanding of the markets, culture and other aspects.
2. Complete package: A top digital marketing agency is able to offer the complete range of digital services including website construction, Content writing, SEO and SMM. So its best to use the services of a professional digital marketer who can offer the entire services under one window.

Now that we understand the importance of online marketing and the multiple usage of Internet apps, let us throw light on how on the other end of the spectrum, excessive usage of the Internet leads to health problems. As per statistics, most individuals spend between 5-8 hours on mobile screens or laptops or computers. Smartphone users typically bend their neck slightly forward when reading and writing text messages. They also sometimes bend or twist their neck sideways and put their upper body and legs in awkward positions. Poor neck, trunk and leg postures can lead to musculoskeletal disorders. Musculoskeletal disorders are more common amongst students and the younger generation with smartphone use exceeding five hours a day.

Neck pain is a growing concern with increasing usage of apps on mobiles.
Known as ‘text neck’, this term used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long. Using mobiles without any control, can cause injury to the spine and bring about a change in the natural curvature of the neck, increasing the amount of discomfort in the associated soft tissues.

The human race has always used their neck to look down so why the concern now? In early days people bent their necks downward whilst reading, whilst eating and while performing numerous other activities through the day. However, the problem became more evident and large scale when people continued to bend their necks downward for much longer periods whilst using their mobiles to text. 

What are the symptoms of a text neck?
If you are suffering from a text neck, it is your neck, upper back, shoulder and arm, which begins to ache:
1. The Neck: Neck pain and soreness in the neck movements due to tightening of the muscles. While looking upwards or downwards or even sideways, the natural movement of the neck causes pain. 
2. The Upper Back: Nagging pain and muscle spasms in the upper thorax can persist.
3. The Shoulder: Tightness in the shoulder or even the severe condition of frozen shoulder can be aggravated resulting in pain and restricted movements of the shoulder.
4. The Arm: If a cervical nerve gets pinched, pain can spread right down to your arm and into your hand resulting into numbness and a tingling sensation further aggravating to stiffness in the fingers.

In order to avoid the painful condition of a text neck, here are a few pointers by health practitioners which need to be followed while using smartphones and laptops to prevent it from occurring:

1. Curtail the time spent
2. Use large computer screens rather than smaller mobile screens. 
3. Don't slouch, recline slightly, sit on a comfortable chair propping up your feet.     Assume the ideal posture.
4. Place the digital screen at eye level or shoulder level.
5. Communicate more eye-to-eye with real people rather than reel people on digital screens.

If neck, shoulder, upper back and arm pain persists, it is advisable to visit a doctor  who can prescribe pain killers and a physiotherapist who can prescribe gentle stretches and exercises. In addition to the physiotherapist taking you through neck extension, neck flexion, neck rotation and side flexion to ease the stiff muscles, one can also increase mobility and decrease muscle pain, by massaging the sore muscles or by applying hot/cold fermentation.

As a word of caution, parents should monitor the time children are spending surfing the net. It is especially perturbing because in younger children, it could possibly cause permanent damage to their cervical spine, which in turn can lead to lifelong neck pain. It is best to take a few minutes off to stretch your muscles, to look away from the screens and to take short breaks to walk away from your laptops and mobile phones while using them. 

Excessive use of mobiles, ipads, laptops, desktops are a health concern. Limit your usage and work wisely to avoid a text neck.

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