April Chiropractic Health Topic: Text Neck

The Battle with Technology and its Effects on our Bodies

"Text Neck"

Yes, mobile devices have made our lives easier. We can access emails, text messages, calendars, spreadsheets, phone calls, planners, internet and more all from one device: our cell phone, laptop, ipod, or ipad. While these modern technologies are extremely convenient, it has its risks too. We need to be aware of protecting our neck and preventing elbow and thumb injuries (Healthy Living, ACA).

“Text neck” is the new big problem to occur in this generation. We are creating a society of poor posture and forward head carriage… AKA TEXT NECK. “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 Joints, Vol 3) This is an especially bad habit that is being started early on by young children today. According to Self Magazine, “The disorder is associated with chronic headaches and shoulder/neck pain, but the doctor has also started to see increased curvature in the spine -- especially in kids.”

Sitting upright includes our ears being over our shoulders. When we look down at our device we need to tuck our chin in, not forward. Dr. Murray tells us that, good posture starts from the lower back. Sit tall, with your abdominals pulled in, and your shoulders back. Make sure to never hold the phone between your ear and shoulder so that your hands can be free. Instead use a headset, as it reduces fatigue in muscles. Dr. Murray also suggests to prop up a few pillows underneath you when you are using your smart phone or laptop, to reduce the strain on your shoulder and neck muscles. (Healthy Living, ACA)

“Our bodies are made to move- not to maintain the same stooped-over posture for long periods of time. Be conscious of the risks involved with excessive use of PDAs or cell phones.” (Healthy Living, ACA)

Another injury that can occur with the excessive use of smart phones is an elbow injury. As you keep your elbows bent to see your screen, the nerve can become irritated which can cause pain, numbness, weakness or tingling. To prevent this type of injury, try to reduce the amount of time your elbows are bent while using these devices, and don’t lean on your elbow while talking on the phone. (Healthy Living, ACA)

The American Chiropractic Association suggests reducing the amount of time typing on the keys of your smart phone. Our thumbs are not made for that type of quick pounding. Try to use the scroll screen less than what you normally do, as it can cause inflammation of your thumb tendon. Even better, turn off your smart phones from time to time, and stop and smell the roses.
Remember everything in moderation. Make sure to take breaks; stretch and walk around. Our bodies are not meant to be in one position all day, as we tend to be while on our smart phones. Our bodies are meant to be active and moving around. There are also many helpful stretches to fix the pain from text neck.

Also, as a patient at LCHC, I can say from personal experience, that treatment here has helped me relieve my "text neck" symptoms of neck and upper back pain. I sit at a computer for long chunks of time, and even though I try to remember proper posture techniques, I still end up finding myself slouching and in poor posture from time to time. Chiropractic treatments and decompression at LCHC has really helped me out when I find my neck in pain from being on technology devices for too long.

If you are feeling any of these symptoms please schedule an appointment to see us. Our talented staff is here to help. Make sure to check our facebook and twitter pages for helpful stretches regarding text neck.

Sources Cited:

Sorrells, Chris. "Using Technology Safely." The Journal of the American Chiropractic Association (JACA) Online (2010). American Chiropractic Association. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.

Zelevansky, Nora. "6 Ways To Relieve "Text Neck": Fit Like Us: Self.com." Fit like Us. Self Magazine, 17 Oct. 2011. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. http://www.self.com/fitness/blogs/freshfitnesstips/2011/10/6-ways-to-relieve-text-neck.html.

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