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.

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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/