Avoid ‘Text Neck’
With vocal exercises being played on a smart phone or tablet, it’s all too easy to find yourself looking down at the device whilst you’re singing along. But is this really a problem? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’! “Text Neck” is a phrase apparently coined by Dr. Dean Fishman (a chiropractor from Florida) to describe the stress injury to the body caused by the forward head position from looking down at the screens of mobile devices for long periods of time.
Text neck can cause not only neck pain but can also lead to upper back pain, shoulder pain & tightness, and if a cervical nerve becomes pinched, pain can even radiate down your arm and into your hand. Potential injury aside however, our concern is also that the voice doesn’t work efficiently, mechanically or acoustically, in a ‘head down’ position. The larynx is being compressed and can’t operate freely.
This also has implications for looking down to read music or lyrics while singing and for unconsciously adopting a lowered head position to look down at your computer in a Skype lesson or at your vocal teacher in a lesson (if you are standing and they are seated at a piano or keyboard) or you’re accompanying yourself on an instrument that requires you to look down.
What’s the best position then?
As much as it can take extra energy to do so, raise music, lyrics or the mobile device you’re practicing with to eye level. And in a vocal lesson, rehearsal or practice session, consciously sing with your head in an ideal, balanced position, chin neither raised nor lowered, and the ears aligned over the shoulders. Your spinal health and vocal freedom are dependent on it.