Train Neck

June 16, 2017 | Jane Grainger

I am writing this whilst on the train. I am sat with a bit of slump in my lumbar spine – not great but the main problem is the position of my neck. I am bent right over at my neck – if I took my phone away I would be looking at my upper thighs! This position is fine for a moment of time but holding this position while I write this / email / text / check facebook means that gradually the discomfort in my neck, upper back and into my shoulder blades is increasing.

As I take a break and look around everyone is in this position. Everyone is likely to be feeling some level of strain / pain. How amazing – a real epidemic.

We wont stop using our phones or the train but lets think about whats happening and how to avoid problems.

Our Posture

Slumped Lumbar Spine
  • increased pressure on the discs
  • over stretch of the muscles and ligaments around the spine
  • over stretch of the nervous system
  • compression of abdominal organs and lungs – deceased ability to breath deeply into the bottom of our lungs


Neck Flexion

  • over stretch of muscles, nerves and ligaments
  • disc compressions
  • stretching of the ligaments and muscles from the neck to the head = headaches
  • stress of the neural system = referral into arms, shoulders, shoulder blades

Holding any position for a prolonged time incorporates a process known as creep. Creep is the progressive deformation or lengthening of tissues (ligaments, muscle, nerve, tendon etc) that occurs during sustained load (stretch). Try holding your little finger backwards, stretching the palm side of it. Hold it there for 1 minute, then feel the discomfort when you release it. Now imagine all the tissues you are stretching in your neck – holding that position for 5-10-20 mins? Longer in many cases.


think about your posture – don’t slump, don’t over flex (bend) your neck

  • don’t hold postures for prolonged periods of time – look up, sit up, move around
  • whilst on the train watch the world go by, listen to music or walk!



Signing off, sitting up straight and putting the phone back in my pocket!

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