Did you know that according to spine-health.com text neck is the neck pain associated with prolonged cell phone or tablet use.
We have all noticed how common cell phone use has become. Who hasn’t been in a restaurant and seen a pair of diners both quietly looking down at their phones. Social media has just given people more reason to be looking down at their phone or tablet. According to the textbook Clinical Biomechanics of the Spine for every inch forward you hold your head the pressure on your neck increases 10 pounds. It is not uncommon to see people holding their head 4 to 6 inches forward which is an extra 40 to 60 pounds on your neck!!
The bones in our neck should have a c-shaped curve which works like a spring absorbing the shock of gravity and evenly distributing the weight of the head through all of the bones and discs of the neck. Unfortunately the prolonged periods of time with your head bent forward actually straightens the spine in our neck putting much more pressure on certain parts of our neck rather than evenly distributing the pressure throughout the spine. These areas of increased pressure causes irritation to the nerves which leads to neck, shoulder pain, and headaches. Long term this increased pressure in the neck leads to arthritis and degenerative changes. The increased use of phones and tablets by children will result in degenerative arthritis showing up much earlier in people’s lives.
Arthritis is not a normal part of aging but a common result of excessive wear and tear on a joint. It was considered normal to lose all of you teeth by your fifties, but we now know that with regular check-ups and brushing we can keep them throughout our life. It is the same for our spine, we just need to take better care of it, with chiropractic check-ups and better posture.
This leaves the question of what to do now?
1. We need to change our posture and quit spending so much time with our head bent forward. We can do that by either holding the phone up to our eyes rather than bending our head forward so that our eyes are looking down at our phone. There are tablet holders that allow people to read in a more posturally sound position.
2. Lie on your back with a rolled up towel under your neck so that it puts the curve back in your spine. At least 10 minutes a day can make a difference. Talk to your Chiropractor about a posture pump to increase the curve even more. A posture pump uses an inflatable bulb that can be pumped up to push the curve back in the neck.
3. A spinal check up by a Doctor of Chiropractic can determine if you have started damaging your neck. We all agree that dental check-ups help us to keep our teeth healthy so we will not need dentures, and in just the same way we all need spinal check-ups to keep our spine healthy and flexible through-out our lives.
Simply following these three steps will make a huge difference in how you neck feels now and the position of your head now and later in life. The sooner you fix this problem the better, because the longer you hold your head forward the more difficult it becomes to hold it straight. Forward head posture can become permanent and lead to dowagers hump which is the hump in the upper back.
You can see how important it is to become more aware of your posture and start making changes. The results will not only be better looking posture but less neck pain and headaches. To get a complimentary consultation to find out if you may be at risk of text neck click here.