Do you love technology as much as I do? If so, you might find yourself on your smartphone quite a bit during your day. Whether checking our calendar, email, or the scores on ESPN, we have become a bit attached to our devices. But hey, we aren’t about to go abandon Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. Have you considered what that is doing to your body? If you are really on your smartphone a lot, you may be experiencing some thumb and hand issues from all the swiping. But the one thing I’d like to talk about right now is how your head and neck are handling your obsession for immediate information?
One of the things I’m frequently seeing is a condition we are calling Text Neck. It’s a condition that comes from us constantly looking down at our phones. It may sound silly, but it’s actually quite common. You may not even associate some of the head or neck pain with your device use. You may just think you’ve slept awkwardly.
Text neck is becoming more common. However, not enough importance is being placed on the detrimental effect it can have on a person’s overall health. It’s important to keep in mind that the weight of the average human head exerts approximately 10-12lbs of force through the muscles of the neck. So, when your head is moving forward by 1 inch, the weight that you hold in your head will increase dramatically with about 6 times as much force.
Medical research has produced evidence linking text neck to early onset arthritis and a decreased lung capacity. It can also lead to the inflammation of the neck ligaments, nerve irritation and increased curvature of the spine, which eventually leads to chronic headaches as well as shoulder and neck pain. There are 6 billion people in the world, and 4 billion have phones. Classifying this problem as an epidemic seems fitting when you factor in that people of all ages and genders are using mobile devices on a daily basis. Of course, throwing out our cell phones, iPads, Kindles, and other types of hand-held devices is not a realistic option. The best suggestion would be to seek consultation from a licensed chiropractor. However, there are three everyday practices you can do.
A strong, flexible body helps with handling extra physical stress. Yoga, ballet, and Pilates all promote good posture and body awareness. Joint mobilization exercises are key to treating and preventing this problem.
Raise the hand-held devices
Moving the cell phone or any other device you are using to somewhere around your eye level. This way, you aren’t putting so much stress and weight on your neck and head. Yes, it might feel funny to do in public, as some might think you are taking photos of them. But the benefits to your overall spinal health will be increased.
Take frequent breaks
Easier said than done if you have a career that requires constant device throughout the day. However, no matter how important your job is to you, health should be prioritized as well. Try spending some time away from the phone—or any type of head-forward posture. When not at work, change positions when texting. Lying on your back is an excellent way to relieve pressure on the neck. Using pillow support for extra comfort helps as well. Most of us tend to slouch when standing. Work on catching yourself when you do this, and correct it by standing up straight. Good posture, with the shoulders pulled back, keeps the body aligned in a neutral position.
Our chiropractic team of wellness doctors, Vasili Gatsinaris, DC, QME, James Kim, DC, Adam Abulghualya, DC, BS, ART and Caprice Leonard, MA, ATC specialize in chiropractic and health and wellness care. Our Irvine chiropractic office is located near John Wayne Airport, convenient for people living in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Santa Ana and other surrounding Orange County communities.
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