Complete Guide to Text Neck
Thanks to the great advancements in technology in recent years, we all seem to have some sort of mobile device sitting in our pockets. At first, they were used to text and call others. However, they can now tell the weather, help to keep you fit, hold a calendar, GPS, and much more. Although this has had many great benefits, there are also some drawbacks - one of which is ‘Text Neck’.
Sadly, this is the name used when people experience shoulder pain, upper back pain, and neck pain that stems from using a mobile device. Since we tend to look down at our phones, the pain starts in the neck before spreading to other areas. For those that spend many hours each day looking down at their phone like this, the risk of seeing Text Neck is incredibly high. According to a recent study, between two and four hours is spent looking down at a smartphone each and every day whether it is texting, watching videos, replying to emails, or looking at social media. Per year, this translates to somewhere between 700 and 1,400 hours just keeping our head in an unnatural position - no wonder our bodies are suffering!
Since teenagers use their mobile devices significantly more, this health problem is more common within this age range and some can spend as much as 5,000 hours looking down at their phone per year. Not only is it mobile phones that cause this issue, handheld video game consoles and even tablets can be a problem too.
Forward Head Position -
As a chiropractor in Fort Lauderdale, we have been seeing a similar problem for many years called ‘Forward Head Position’. As people with this problem get older, they are permanently stuck with their head forward and severe cases require a walker just to remain upright and walk properly. Since using smartphones is leading to simple posture mistakes, we expect the health issue to continue rising.
Although it would be easy to blame the technology because smartphones have gotten more advanced in a very quick time period, it all comes to down posture. Nowadays, we have phone contracts with unlimited texts and access to the high-speed internet which means that there is just so much to do. Even when we aren't surfing the web, we are texting friends or scrolling through social media or playing games or checking out other apps or watching YouTube videos and the list goes on. In years gone by, we had items that would cause us to put our necks in the same position but never for the sustained period of time we see today.
Poor Posture -
As mentioned, the problem is our posture when using mobile devices. Considering our heads weigh anywhere between 10 and 12 pounds, our upper spine and neck take the strain whenever we lean our heads forward to text. Even with your head angled at 30 degrees, it is the equivalent of having a head weighing 40 pounds. If we double this angle, the head will then weigh 60 pounds - our necks are only used to the 10 to 12 pounds they weigh when upright!
Cervical Spine - Ultimately, the neck has a few main functions including acting as a pivot so we can move our head in any direction whether it be up, down, left, right, etc. On a deeper level, it protects the brain from sudden movements by absorbing the shock. Thirdly, it acts as a protector of all the nerves running down from the brain before being dispersed to the rest of the body.
If you look at the neck and its natural curvature, it forms a ‘C’ shape and this is the top section of the whole spine which is actually shaped like an ’S’. Without these curvatures, we wouldn't be able to absorb any shock without injury and we wouldn’t have the same freedom in head movement. As we spend hours and hours looking down at our mobile devices, this is an unnatural head position and it goes against the design of the spine. Suddenly, the upper spine and neck is under extreme stress for long periods.
As you may know, the body always follows the lead of the head. As we spend hours of our time pulling the neck away from its natural position, eventually the spine straightens and loses the curvature. In more severe cases, the neck can actually reverse to then curve in the opposite direction. Even after this, we continue to pull on the tissue by looking down and the muscles weaken. As soon as the muscle weakens, the shoulders can round forward and this is a huge problem!
Health Problems -
At first, it is normally the headaches and neck pain when people realize that something is wrong. However, this health problem has the potential to become a whole lot more severe and the main example of this is misalignment in the spine. As we pull our necks forward. the cervical and thoracic spine (neck and upper back) move slightly and this can lead to herniated discs as well as pinched nerves.
When it comes to the spine, it does an amazing job at protecting the nerves and its role cannot be underestimated. Ultimately, we have nerves running down the neck before then heading into the body via different routes and the spine protects them all from damage. With Text Neck, the nerves in the cervical spine are impacted the most - C1 to T5. Unfortunately, these nerves contribute hugely to our eyes, brains, hearing, facial muscles, sinuses, pituitary glands, and more. In a healthy body, the vertebrae will be properly aligned and all of these nerves will function as designed.
When Text Neck is seen, the whole curvature of the neck changes so the openings in the spine change in shape and size. All of a sudden, the nerves are being squeezed for room and they get pinched whilst becoming less effective in their main function. As a result, we could see problems with all of the areas listed previously including sinus problems, issues with vision, fatigue, headaches, thyroid problems, high blood pressure, and even trouble breathing. Perhaps seen as more severe, Text Neck can also lead to arthritis in the neck, slipped discs, disc degeneration, extreme pain running down to the arms, and more.
However, it doesn’t just stop there because our lung capacity reduces the longer we spend with our head down. When this occurs, the amount of oxygen circulating the body and reaching the brain decreases and we become prone to diseases and find it hard to heal after small injuries. Finally, we should also note that the weaker muscles and subsequent affects on the upper back can cause subluxations which are misalignments in the spinal bone. Over time, the whole process becomes a negative spiral because the shoulders round, the posture worsens even more, we contribute to this by looking down at our phones, the muscles weaken, and the hunched over appearance gradually gets worse.
How to Protect Yoursel From Text Neck
With all of this information in mind, how do you protect yourself from this ever-growing problem? Hopefully, this information here has provided a wake-up call for you by proving the dangers that come with staring down at a device all day. We aren't saying that you need to ditch the devices for good, we are simply suggesting that you need to reassess your posture and even lifting the device a little can be a positive start.
After this, we recommend 10 minutes of moving around for every hour you spend looking down. In truth, we could do another complete guide to the dangers of prolonged sitting which would include deep vein thrombosis, problems in the joints, and much more. Therefore, just stand and have a little walk around if you notice that you have been sitting for quite some time. Finally, we also recommend visiting a professional chiropractor regularly so they can keep an eye on your health and correct any misalignments. As long as you visit a trusted service, they will keep you in a great position moving forward.
Chiropractic Care For Text Neck
When it comes to neck problems, chiropractors are the most qualified in the medical profession to deal with any pains or aches. By visiting a Fort Lauderdale chiropractor, you will ensure that the cervical spine and neck stay aligned as they should and this allows problems to be noticed early and then corrected before more serious solutions are required.
As one of the leading chiropractor services in Fort Lauderdale, we can help with any problems you may have. After visiting us, we can tell you whether you have Text Neck, how far advanced it may be, and take x-rays to look for resolutions. Ultimately, we will work hard to correct any issues and have you back up and running in no time. If we can restore the correct function to the nerves, all the pains will stop so this will be our main focus.
In today’s world, we seem to be focused on solutions as opposed to preventing the problem in the first place and this can be seen in a variety of industries - not least the medical profession. Even if you aren't experiencing any problems just yet but spend a significant amount of time looking down at a device, we highly recommend coming to visit Fort Lauderdale Chiropractor, Dr. Barak Meraz. Sometimes, it can be a while before you start to experience symptoms of Text Neck. By the time you do, the misalignment is severe so coming to us early can prevent this from happening.
Over time, we have developed the necessary skills and experience to deal with Text Neck in the best way possible. We realize that not all cases will be the same so we will assess your condition, ask you a few questions about the symptoms, and then work with you for the best solution. Please feel free to share this text neck guide to all of your friends, family members, and colleagues because Text Neck is still relatively unknown. By getting the information out there and visiting professional chiropractors in Fort Lauderdale, we can start to gain some sort of control over the problem! Call now for a chiropractic appointment in Fort Lauderdale: 954-980-5483 or at our Plantation office:954-581-1999.