What are the chances of you reading this in a position that is harmful to your body? Is your head leaning forward, shoulders slightly rounded, or your back slumped? Do you notice stiffness or soreness in your neck and shoulders after spending a day at the office looking at a screen all day? Or how about after scrolling through social media on your phone for a few hours? The modern age brings a variety of new things to discover, and health conditions are no exception, especially when it comes to our interactions with technology. If you’ve experienced any pain or tension from the activities described above, you may be experiencing Text Neck.
Text Neck is a modern affliction caused by repeated stress on the neck and spine as a result of looking down constantly, particularly at handheld or electronic devices.
What is Text Neck?
Text Neck is a condition where the continual habit of looking down (often at an electronic device) causes pain essentially due to bad posture. It is also known as the Forward Head position because when someone looks down the neck bends and moves the head forward. Though the name might be comical, it is a condition that has become more frequent in doctor’s offices as people spend more and more time hunched over devices.
On average, people spend 5-6 hours a day looking at their phones. The average human head weighs anywhere from 10-12 pounds. However, in this Forward Head position at varying degrees, it can place up to 60 pounds of pressure on the neck. This increased pressure and weight can pull muscles, tendons, ligaments, and even your spine out of alignment. Over time, this can cause several health problems as it weakens muscles, damages soft tissue, and can leave permanent changes to your spine and posture. It has become an increased concern for children more so than adults as children’s bodies are often more malleable and seem to ‘grow’ into bad posture.
Text neck is often at an advanced stage by the time people become aware of the problem. As Text Neck pulls on the spine and upper back, nerves can become pinched and lead to misalignments. Not only can Text Neck cause pain, but a weakened spine can also lead to poor communication between the brain and other parts of the body.
Some other symptoms to watch out for include:
- Pain in neck, shoulders, upper back, and even arms
- Spinal disc degeneration
- Pinched nerves
- Muscle spasms
- Balance problems
- Vision problems
- Curving of the spine
Though symptoms will vary from person to person if left untreated, permanent spinal damage may occur such as reshaping of the curvature of the spine.
We understand that patients will not suddenly stop using their devices or stop looking down at them all the time. However, the first thing to do is to become aware of how texting or the use of electronic devices can cause bad posture.
A simple solution is lifting your device to an eye-level position, this will reduce pressure on your neck as your head won’t slouch forward and will help your spine keep a neutral posture. Avoid looking down and straining your muscles constantly. Taking breaks and performing stretches every hour will help your neck and spine relax tensed muscles and avoid pain.
Chiropractic care is one of the most effective therapies in treating Text Neck. Chiropractors are qualified to help and correct misalignments of the vertebrae throughout the neck and spine. After physical examinations, often X-Rays will be done to show any problems Text Neck may have caused and how advanced the condition may be. A treatment plan is then designed to correct the problem, alleviate symptoms, and restore function to your nerves. Your chiropractor can offer treatment through spinal manipulations, stretches, and exercises to relieve pain and misalignments as well as strengthen weakened muscles. In addition to physical benefits, your chiropractor can also offer advice on how to avoid falling into the same habits after treatment.
If you think the pain you are experiencing may be from Text Neck or for more information, please contact North Pinellas Spine & Joint today. Our staff is here to provide you with the right therapy for your condition with long-term solutions and natural healing.