What Is Text Neck?

by Dr. Vincent Porta, DC

In today’s day and age our cell phones have become a technology that we cannot live without. For many people a cell phone is a device used to run their business, for others it is their connection to the outside world via social media, and for some it is used for pure entertainment. No matter what we use our phones for, most people can admit to spending countless hours a day using them. So the question arises, is the long-term use of cell phones having any negative effects on our bodies? The answer is a resounding yes. Some of the most prevalent side effects include neck, upper back, shoulder pain and headaches. Another long-lasting detrimental effect of constantly looking down at our phones is what is known as a loss of cervical lordosis. This means a loss in the natural curvature of our necks. The average human head weighs about 10-12 pounds (the weight of an average bowling ball) and as we look down further the forces pulling on the neck from the head increase as depicted below. Imagine a bowling ball pulling down on your neck all day!

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As we look down at our phones not only are we adding stress to the spine but also adding stress to the supporting muscles. Muscles in the back of the neck become elongated and weak due to constant stretching, and muscles in the front of the neck become shortened due to constant contraction. Similar symptoms of neck, upper back pain and headaches can be attributed to looking down at other electronic devices like tablets and computers as well.

So what can we do to help balance and solve this problem? Take a look below for some simple solutions for “Text Neck.”

Simple Solutions for Text Neck

  • Raise Your Phone To Eye Level – Raising your phone, tablet or computer monitor to eye level will bring your head back to a neutral position, helping to eliminate the stress on your spine and neck musculature.
  • Take Breaks Throughout the Day – Taking a few 5-10 minute breaks during the day to stand upright and walk around will restore your body’s neutral position.
  • Neck Extension Exercises – Neck extension exercises will help restore the natural cervical curve. These exercises can be done using a towel or a small exercise ball as seen below by pressing down or back into the towel or ball.
  • Consult Your Chiropractor – In addition to performing a comprehensive examination, we will be able to instruct you on proper form for the exercises mentioned above. Also, chiropractic adjustments along with a customized treatment plan can help restore the spine’s natural curve and alleviate pain caused by text neck.

chiropractor montvale chiropractor montvale

 

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me at drporta@thespineandhealthcenter.com.

Sources

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/0YaGngp7pxM/maxresdefault.jpg

http://cartwrightphysicaltherapy.com.au/files/rolled-towel-neck.jpg

http://www.thehealthybodycompany.com.au/text-neck-an-unavoidable-pain-in-the-neck/

 

5 Simple Ways to Be Healthier and More Productive Without Leaving Your Desk

I saw this one on the internet and thought I would share it with you.  It comes from Entrepreneur, so I guess that means it is for important people, haha!  I hope you can use it:

We know physical health affects job performance, yet the demands of the day often win out over doctors’ orders. While studies show that a ten minute break for every 50 minutes of intense mental demand is required to keep your brain at its’ optimal performance, getting up from the desk is not always an option, especially for busy entrepreneurs. Follow these tips to stay healthy and productive even when desk-bound.

1. Boost your immune system with lemon water.“Squeezing half of a fresh lemon into an eight-ounce glass of water will kick-start the liver to metabolize waste more effectively, minimizing digestive bloating, gas, constipation and body pains”, says Naturopathic doctor Camille Nghiem-Phu. Bonus: lemon is an uplifting scent that can make you feel more energized and alert.

2. Get rid of your chair for better posture. “Poor posture obstructs proper blood flow and nerve conduction to our organs,” says Nghiem-Phu. Bad posture can also often lead to lower back, upper neck and shoulder pain resulting in headaches and poor concentration.

Switch up your desk chair for an inflatable exercise ball that allows you to keep your back straight while strengthening the core muscles. “Ensuring proper ergonomic positions will accelerate fresh oxygen delivery to the brain for mental sharpness,” says Nghiem-Phu.

3. Choose high-protein snacks. “Protein keeps the blood sugar stable to ward off the highs and lows of sugar-crashes that come from consuming only carbohydrates at mealtimes,” says Nghiem-Phu. Exchange your coffee and doughnut for high-protein snacks such as raw almonds, fruit, plain Greek yogurt or hummus and veggies and avoid refined sugars to ensure optimal mental performance all day long.

4. Drink more water than you think you need. Drinking water keeps the brain and muscles hydrated. We’ve all heard the advice to drink eight 8-ounces glasses of water a day, but it’s not one size fits all. Your weight in kilograms is equal to the ounces of water your body requires each day, according to the American Dietetic Association. So if you weigh 170 pounds (77kg) you should drink 77 ounces of water a day (or almost 10 eight-ounce glasses). Increase this number by 16 to 20 ounces when you exercise.

5. Stretch at your desk. Taking a break to do some stretches improves circulation allowing fresh oxygen delivery to the brain, and minimizes neck and shoulder tension that lead to headaches. Nghiem-Phu recommends the following stretches for the desk-bound:

  • With a straight back, bend your elbow, reaching your right hand towards the back of your head, for the area behind the left ear and bring your chin towards the right shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.”This stretches the muscles at the back of the head that are typically tightened to cause migraines and tension headaches,” says Nghiem-Phu.
  • To stretch the neck and upper back, bring both hands to the back of the head and allow the weight to bring your head forward while keeping your back straight.
  • With your right hand on your right hip, raise the left arm to the ceiling. Bend sideways at the waist towards the right to stretch the obliques. Repeat on the other side. “This opens the rib cage to maximize air circulation in the lungs,” says Ngheim-Phu.
  • To stretch the upper back, stand up, place both hands on the desk in front of you and take a couple steps back so you’re bent at the hip with your arms outstretched and your head facing the floor.

11 TIPS TO BETTER POSTURE

Here are some tips I provide to patient’s to take home with them after their Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Acupuncture or Massage Treatments:
1. Be brutally honest about your posture. You may think it’s pretty good, but if you are having neck-and-shoulder pain, headaches, issues with arms and hands, or if a bump is forming at the base of your neck, something needs to change. Breathing problems could even be related to curled-in chests. Don’t blame it on your bed or your genetics; you didn’t inherit a bad posture gene, you inherited the habit. The pain is there to show us where our body needs attention and maintenance. Listen to it and use it.  It’s impossible to be completely honest about how your posture looks just by seeing yourself in a mirror. Each of us subconsciously adjusts our posture when we look in the mirror. To be truly honest about our posture, we need to accidentally see a side view of ourselves in a window or reflective surface of some kind as we’re walking by. That is where you’ll see the real truth.
2. Stop thinking about your shoulders. Change your focus. Instead of concentrating on your shoulders, work on keeping your chest up and open. Your body will look better, function better and be more comfortable in the long run. You may even be able to breathe and digest food better.
Make sure to pop your chest up, not out. Visualize a string attached to the top of your sternum, pulling it up, and another string on the top of your head. Use your abs to help. When doing this, be careful not to create a curve in your low back.
3. Activate your abs. Use your core to help keep your chest up and open while allowing your arms and shoulders to simply relax back to where they’re supposed to be. This exercise is ideal to practice while sitting at a computer, and it helps keep you from curling in. It’s also effective while moving and working out. If you are doing any type of upper-body lifting in your workout, make sure your abs are tight and your chest is up as high as possible. If you don’t, you will work incorrect muscles and make your neck and shoulders worse.
4. Stretch your pecs and arms. Stretch your arms in every direction: up, down, out, across the body, above your head. Do what feels good.
5. Arm circles. This is a simple exercise to help with neck-and-shoulder tension. Arm circles stretch and work the muscles at the same time. Make sure you activate your abs and get your chest up as high as you can, first. Use your thumbs. If you point them like your hitchhiking while you do your circles, it helps keep your arms straight for a better stretch.
6. Shake it out. Unless the pain you’re having is related to an actual injury, the worst thing you can do is protect or baby it. Unless the muscle is torn or has received some sort of impact, the only thing to blame is our subconscious holding habits and repetitive actions. I realize when we first feel pain in the shoulders, arms and hands, our first instinct is to protect it and stabilize it. It hurts because it’s stuck, and it’s no longer receiving the flow that it needs.  Start shaking gently, then build up to shaking them as hard as you can, for as long as you can. Then stretch. Don’t wait until you have time to do yoga or an extended stretching session. If it’s stuck or sore, shake it out, move it, stretch it right then and there.
7. Turn your hands up while you run, or slightly forward while you walk. It pops your chest up and open. When you do any sort of extended walk, jog or run, pay attention to your form and moving correctly, rather than how far you go. While you’re moving is the best time to work on posture, form and body mechanics. If we change our patterns while we move, our muscles retrain themselves much faster.
8. Define posture. The definition of great posture is, getting out of our own way, leaning back, relaxing and letting our skeleton do its job. It’s about only using the muscles that are necessary for each movement we perform.
9. Pay attention to low-back pain. Believe it or not, low-back pain is usually caused by tension in the hips, glutes and upper legs. First, stop locking your legs together. Stretch your legs in every direction you can. This includes quads, hamstrings, iliotibial bands—everything that attaches in the hips. Muscles stretch better if you warm them up with shaking first.
10. How do you walk? Another contributor to low-back pain relates to how our feet hit the ground when we walk. Most of us turn our feet too far out when we walk; some people turn too far in, but it’s less common. Either way, most of us also walk or run while putting all of our weight on the outer (lateral) edge of our feet. When we do this every day, the musculature on the outside of our legs becomes overdeveloped and creates a huge pull on our sacrum, causing low-back curvature and pain.
Work on lengthening and strengthening your inner (medial) leg muscles. Every time your feet hit the ground, the entire palm of your foot should touch. Think about keeping your feet straight and putting your weight more in the middle, or core. If you do this, you will see a difference in the musculature of your legs, as well as experience less low-back pain.
11. Keep your hip joint straight and get your belly weight off of your hips. It’s important when you do this to not lock your knees. Visualize pulling the front of your body straight up from the arches of your feet to your sternum. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is taught that yin (feminine) energy runs up the front of the body, while yang (masculine) energy runs down the back of your body. Visualize your body moving up in the front of the body with each inhale, and down the back of the body with each exhale.