According to one estimate, about 70 percent of Americans sleep with their phone either in bed or within easy reach. Though there is something to be said for keeping in touch with the world around you, using your phone in bed may be an unexpected source of your neck pain. The staff at The Spine Institute Center in Santa Monica explains how excessive phone usage in bed leads to pain in the neck.
Phone Use Equals Neck Strain
Using a phone in bed forces your neck to glance downward. Doing so places the weight of your head on your neck, which can go from the normal 10 to 12 pounds your neck supports to roughly 60 pounds when tilting your neck. Making a regular habit of using your phone in bed can also accelerate the wear and tear of discs and other tissues in your neck. Possible signs of neck strain include:
- Pain or stiffness when moving your head
- Cramping (muscle spasms) or tightness in your neck
- Reduced range of motion
Your Phone’s Light May Affect Sleep
The blue light from your phone throws off your body’s biological clock (circadian rhythm). Nighttime light exposure suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that helps maintain your sleep rhythm. Toning down the light doesn’t appear to make things any better, although installing an app that filters blue wavelengths may help.
Bedtime Phone Use Leads to Less Sleep
Texting, browsing, and scrolling in bed can also mean you’re sacrificing sleep. Tissues in your neck need productive rest to regenerate and repair damage from daily movements. Using the phone in bed may also make it more difficult for you to actually get to sleep or reach the stage of sleep when tissue repair usually occurs.
Should you feel a need to spend some time on your phone in bed, get in a position where your phone is eye level. Otherwise, make an effort to ease up on bedtime phone use if you have neck pain. You might even reduce stress by not constantly worrying about whether or not you’re missing something, which is also a good thing for your neck.
For tips on preventing other causes of neck pain, reach out to The Spine Institute Center. We specialize in spinal fusion procedures such at the XLIF, ALIF, and TLIF Santa Monica patients claim has helped relieve their pain. Give us a call today at 310-858-7757 to learn more and schedule an appointment.