Not a day goes by that I don’t use a mobile device in some capacity; even on days where I have vowed to sit home and read a good book, I still find myself checking score updates or answering the odd text message here and there. I think it’s safe to assume that I’m not alone in this; we all use technology to stay connected, to occupy our time and to be part of the modern world.
So, if I tell you that all of the technology we use is a major factor in the reason that neck pain has risen in the last few decades. The condition is so popular and chiropractors see it so frequently that it has been coined, “text neck.”
Text neck refers to the pain associated with prolonged misaligned and awkward neck posture due to looking at a screen in the palm of the hand. The pain comes as a result of overuse syndrome, which involves the head, neck and shoulders, usually resulting from excessive strain on the spine from looking at a forward and downward position at a handheld mobile device.
The disorder is actually a highly progressive one, but it can be corrected through proper and frequent adjustments by a chiropractor. Because we often hold devices in our hands and feel that its awkward to hold them at eye level as we are supposed to in order to prevent things such as text neck, then these types of conditions arise.
To alleviate pain that comes from the poor positioning of the head and neck on a regular basis, holding devices at eye level with the head and neck straight, as well as keeping the head directly over the shoulders is key. Taking breaks if holding a device for a long period of time also helps.
The human head weights roughly 10 pounds when the ears, shoulders and hips are properly aligned. With ever one inch of forward head posture, the weight of the head is increased by 100 percent. So, if the head is two inches out of alignment, it weight roughly 20 pounds. Having the head in this position for a lengthy amount of time can throw off the alignment of the entire spine, and can cause the neck to try to balance out and over compensate, causing immense pain further down the road.
Many chiropractors are noticing more and more the condition of text neck, specifically in patients in the age range of 16 to 30 years of age; the more predominate age range for texting and for poor posture to affect health. Regular stretching, adjustments and proper posture can ensure that you don’t contract text neck, which can lead to many further complications.
Consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for any medical related advice.
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