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Sat Oct 22 23:32:06 SAST 2016

Pokemon Ouch! Follow these tips to avoid ‘text neck’…

Deneesha Pillay | 16 August, 2016 11:43
Doing this for several hours a day is likely to cause “text neck”. File photo
Image by: © Sam Mircovich / Reuters / REUTERS

Pokemon Go‚ the mobile game taking the world by storm‚ is becoming a pain in the neck for some gaming enthusiasts who spend their days trying to “catch ’em all”.

While the game encourages players to walk about and move their bodies‚ a major drawback is that it often forces players to bend their heads over phone screens for a long time.

And human heads are heavy‚ weighing about 4.5kg to 5.5kg‚ according to the South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP).

The head‚ made up of brain matter‚ skull protection and muscle mass‚ is all poised on top of a pole-like structure: the neck. When you bend your head forward by 30 degrees to check a screen‚ “you’re putting about 12 kilos of strain on your spine and the muscles of your neck”‚ warned the SASP in a statement.

Doing this for several hours a day is likely to cause “text neck”.

“That means headaches‚ pain in the neck and shoulders‚ curvature of the spine - especially in children‚” said SASP.

Tips from the SASP to prevent “text neck”‚ ahead of National Physiotherapy Week in September‚ include:

- Use voice whenever possible – put the loudspeaker on when you chat‚ use voice recognition apps.

- Bend your eyes down to see the screen rather than your neck.

- Bring the phone up so you’re looking at it head-on instead of at an angle.

- Text less (yes‚ it’s possible!).

- Aim for good posture‚ like this: Imagine someone is standing over you‚ holding your head up by a string attached to the top of your head. Keep your chin tucked in. That? That’s good posture!

- Stretch. Give those neck muscles a break like this: Sit up straight‚ and feel the pull of that string attached to the top of your head … twist your head slowly towards your left shoulder. Twist your head slowly towards your right shoulder. Tilt your head to the left shoulder. Repeat to the right.


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