Treating and Preventing the Rising Epidemic of "Text Neck"

When your neck is turned to a 15 degree angle, approximately 27 pounds of weight is being placed on your cervical spine. At 30 degrees, it is 40 pounds of weight, and at 60 degrees, 60 pounds of weight.  Why would your neck be bent at such extreme angles?  Most of the time, a smartphone is to blame. 

In America, 58% of people own smartphones. Of this percentage, most of these users spend 2 to 4 hours per day looking down at their phone and straining their neck. High school students usually clock in the most time spent bending over and looking at their phones, but all age groups are somewhat guilty.  Over time, all of this strain on the cervical spine has led to a full-blown epidemic referred to among experts as “text neck.”

While you may not feel the effects at first, putting such pressure on the neck will eventually lead to pain and inflammation.  If the problem isn’t corrected, these issues can progress into more serious concerns such as pinched nerves and herniated discs.  Add to this the fact that poor posture in general has been linked to decreased lung capacity, headaches, depression, and even heart disease, and you’ll quickly understand why your smartphone is more than just a potential pain in the neck.  It’s a legitimate health hazard.

MINIMIZING THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF TEXT NECK

Fortunately, you don’t have to dump your smartphone to avoid the pain and associated health problems that can come from regular use.  A few adjustments (both chiropractic and otherwise) can help you use your device and remain pain free. 

 - Keep your smartphone or tablet at eye level, and when necessary, look down with your eyes, not your entire head.

 - Take frequent breaks from your phone or laptop, getting up to move every 20 – 30 minutes.

 - Strengthen your neck with specific exercises recommended by a professional.

 - Strengthen your core and lower back muscles to help keep your posture upright.

 - Visit a chiropractor for adjustments that can help alleviate pain and improve posture.

If text neck is already a problem for you, or if you want to make sure it doesn’t become one, Southeast Chiropractic: The Motion Centers can help.  Our chiropractic physicians can help you maintain or restore proper alignment of your spine, ease muscle tension, and reduce inflammation.  Contact any one of our three chiropractic offices and schedule a free consultation.