Do you suffer from Text Neck?
The need for chiropractic care has significantly increased with advances in technology, and the reality that the public at large is constantly “connected”. Over the last couple of years more and more people of all ages are seeking chiropractic care with similar complaints. They may experience neck pain, chronic headaches, shoulder pain, and/or numbness and tingling into the upper extremities. Do you experience these symptoms? If you do and you spend a significant amount of time with your head down reading your mobile device, you may be suffering from Text Neck!
Imagine sitting on your ankle sideways for 10 minutes. It would feel stiff and sore when you returned it to it’s natural position. Think about all the time your neck is bent in this downward position. That is what people are doing to their necks. Some people get in their car, drive to work, work on a computer all day, play on their mobile phones on their breaks, drive home and work on their computer and their phone again in the evening. Studies show we can spend up to 7 ½ to 10 hours a day with our necks in this unnatural position while we are using our computers and handheld devices for texting, checking and sending emails, surfing the internet and reading novels on our e-readers. We are not built to be hunched over screens.
This position causes a condition called forward head posture (FHP). FHP is a reversed or flattening of the cervical curve which often is accompanied with mild to moderate degenerative changes. This is also affecting our youth. They are getting cell phones now at younger ages and if you look around you you will see their heads are also buried into their phones much like adults and sometimes for longer periods of time. This can cause the degeneration of the spine to begin at a much earlier age. FHP is not a condition based on age it is based on one’s posture.
Fast Facts: The Consequences of Forward Head Posture
- Long-term forward neck posture leads to “long-term muscle strain, disc herniations and pinched nerves.” (Mayo Clinic Health Letter, March 2000)
- The human head weighs on average 10-12 lbs. “For every inch of forward head posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 lbs.” (Kapandji, Physiology of the Joints, Volume 3)
- “Loss of the cervical curve stretches the spinal cord 5-7 cm and causes disease.”(Dr. Alf Breig, neurosurgeon and Nobel Prize recipient)
- FHP has been shown to flatten the normal neck curve, resulting in disc compression, damage and early arthritis. (Roentgenographic findings of the cervical spine in asymptomatic people. (Spine, 1986;6:591-694)
OK, so you think you suffer from Text Neck, now what? There are several things you can do. If we could eliminate our handheld devices that would help a lot, but since we know that is not going to happen here are a few tips to help.
- Getting regular chiropractic adjustments helps by reducing the strain on the spine. Adjustments keep your spine in correct alignment which keeps the discs and nerves in good condition.
- Be mindful of your posture while using these devices. Try to have your head up and shoulders back.
- If you can’t limit your use then you can bring your device up to eye level. This will not only be better for your neck but will give your arms muscles a little workout.
- Be sure to strength your neck and chest to offset the tightness that occurs from poor posture.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day to increase strength and flexibility.
We strive to help you get to your optimum health. Which includes correcting spinal misalignment as they occur which prevents spinal degeneration. We recommend being proactive about your health which will maintain wellness. If you feel you suffer from Text Neck, sit up straight and give us a call today.