Summer is the season for reconnecting with friends and family, and spending a little extra time with those you love. Unfortunately, a portion of this time is normally spent telling both kids and adults alike to set aside their electronic devices. While the greatest benefit of putting down your phone is fully appreciating those around you, there is more than one reason to cut down on screen time this summer. As you type, text, or read on a handheld device, your neck bends at an unnatural angle and strains the muscles in the upper back causing neck pain. A study published in the journal Surgical Technology International reports that, “An adult head weighs 10-12 pounds in a neutral position, but by tilting it forward, the forces it exerts on the neck can surge – up to 60 pounds when the head is tilted by 60 degrees.” This means that while leaning forward to look at your phone and send a text message, you can place up to 60 pounds of extra weight on your neck. 60 pounds! Consistently requiring your neck to support this excess weight could lead to a host of issues, especially if you remain in this position for an extended period of time. The long-term complications that may result from this extra strain range from normal wear and tear to degeneration and possible surgeries. In fact, this method of injury has become so common that it now has its own name – “text neck.”
“Text Neck” Neck Pain
“Text neck” refers to pain and neck damage sustained by looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or wireless device too frequently and for too long. The symptoms associated with “text neck” (in addition to neck pain and soreness) are sharp, nagging upper back pain and muscle spasms, shoulder pain and tightness, and pain radiating down into the arms and hands from a pinched cervical nerve. If left untreated, these symptoms may lead to chronic problems. “Text neck” is known to cause the early onset of arthritis in the neck in addition to the alteration of the natural spinal curve, resulting in permanent muscular and spinal deformation. Teenagers and children are especially prone to these effects during their developmental stages, but this phenomenon is equally concerning for adults. According to a recent study conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC), “79% of the population between the ages of 18 and 44 have their cell phones with them almost all of the time – with only 2 hours of their waking day spent without their cell phone on hand.” We depend on the modern conveniences afforded by technology every day. As a result, we need to be aware of the unfortunate side effects that arise from its overuse, and know how to address the warning signs of a permanent health issue. At Grieb Chiropractic, we offer a free spinal analysis that will allow us to assess any pain or discomfort in your neck and upper back, and begin a treatment plan to restore full mobility in those areas affected by “text neck.” Here’s how chiropractic can help.
During your free spinal analysis, we will most likely recommend an adjustment to gently correct the position of your spine. This spinal manipulation will properly align the vertebrae in your neck and upper back, and alleviate the danger of a pinched nerve or herniated disc. Specific hand contact, massaging, and stretching will begin to ease muscle strain and discomfort, and EMS technology will further reduce the irritated and inflamed areas. With repeated visits and dedication to spinal health, we will ensure your immediate comfort as well as your future wellbeing. While chiropractic care provides vital steps toward recovery from “text neck” symptoms, there are simple habits you can practice at home to reduce the likelihood of future strain. Ultimately, you want to avoid bending your head forward for extended periods of time. While looking at a handheld device, make sure that the screen is kept at eye level. If you work at an office, position your computer in a way that aligns your head squarely with your shoulders and spine as you look forward. Finally, you should take frequent breaks throughout the day to look up from your device and remove the excess weight to avoid neck pain. Gentle treatments provided by Grieb Chiropractic, combined with careful attention to posture and technology usage at home, will spare you and your family of injuries caused by “text neck.” Give us a call to set up an appointment at (724)-935-6050 today!