Do you ever find yourself rubbing the back of your neck after spending time looking at your phone? If so, you may be part of a growing trend of people suffering from the effects of text neck. The human head weighs about twelve pounds. But as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine increases. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds. 60 pounds? That is like carrying a child hanging from around your neck for hours every day! In addition to causing neck pain, symptoms of this increased weight on your spine include upper or lower back pain and shoulder or arm pain. We have even seen people in our clinic with hand pain as a result of subluxation issues coming from their neck. These symptoms seem like an inconvenience at the least, but over time research are concerned that they can ultimately lead to permanent pain and even arthritis.
One alarming trend is that doctors are treating this condition more and more in children, who are spending time looking down at younger and younger ages. This can lead to permanent damage and is greatly contributing to the growing epidemic of opioid dependency.
What can be done to prevent text neck?
- Keep your phone at eye level. This may seem obvious, but look around a room sometime and notice where most people hold their phone. You will have to make a conscious effort to do this in the beginning, but over time it can become intuitive.
- If you work at a computer all day, angle your screen so you are looking straight ahead. You may need to raise the screen up in order to achieve this.
- Work to keep your neck straight. Throughout the day, be mindful of your posture. In the beginning, it may help to set a timer (on that phone that is always with you!) throughout your day to remind you to check your posture.
- Work on core strength! This helps the posture of your whole body! Try a yoga class for flexibility and core strength.
- See your chiropractor! Regular adjustments help keep your spine in alignment, which is the ultimate goal. Dr. Koester is available five days per week at Long Hollow Chiropractic and everyday at www.longhollowchiro.com . Call for an appointment today. 615-851-3900