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Text Neck: It's a Real Pain in the Neck

Text neck
3 Ways to Avoid Text Neck

You are most at risk of developing text neck if you constantly keep your head down when you use your phone, laptop, tablet or other device. Minimize pain and damage to your back or neck with these tips.

Raise Your Head

Keep your phone at eye level as much as possible. Maintaining a good head position will help you avoid the painful symptoms of text neck. It's just as important to avoid looking down at laptops and tablets. Using these devices on stands and lap desks will help raise them to an acceptable level.

Take a Break

At least every 15 minutes, raise your head and take a break from your screen. Get up and take a short stroll before you return to your phone or screen.

Stretch It Out

Do a few stretches during your break. Arch your back and gently tilt your head side to side and up and down. Your chiropractor can teach you a few exercises that will help strengthen your neck and back muscles. Strengthening those muscles improves your posture and reduces your risk of muscle strain.

Do you have frequent neck, shoulder or back pain? You may have a recently identified condition called "text neck." The repetitive strain injury occurs when you spend considerable time looking down at your phone. Since 72 percent of Americans own smartphones, according to Pew Research Center, it's likely to affect many of us at some point if we do not change the way we use our phones.

What Causes Text Neck?

Your neck is designed to support the weight of your head in an upright position. Dropping your head increases the amount of pressure placed on the vertebrae in your neck and also strains muscles in your neck, shoulders, and back.

When you hold your head at a 60 degree angle, like when you look down at your phone, it's as if you suddenly added another 50 pounds of weight to your head. Because your neck was not designed to support so much weight, permanent damage eventually can occur. If you spend a lot of time texting, playing games or surfing the Internet on your phone, the curvature of your neck may even be permanently affected. Although changes in the neck are often inevitable due to aging, chiropractors are starting to see young patients with serious wear and tear due to texting.

What Are the Symptoms of Text Neck?

Symptoms of text neck include:

  • Neck, shoulder, back, arm, and hand pain
  • Headache
  • Spasms in the neck, shoulder and back
  • Numbness and tingling
  • A change in posture
  • Tight shoulder and neck muscles

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Text Neck?

A variety of painful conditions can occur when you continually put too much stress on your neck, such as:

  • Disc Problems. Your discs cushion the vertebrae in your spinal column. Although they're designed to be flexible, they are not meant to withstand the strong forces that occur when you constantly keep your head lowered. Over time, you may begin to experience cracked, slipped or herniated discs.
  • Pinched Nerves. Using bad posture when you text can also increase your risk of a pinched nerve. The problem occurs when bone or tissue presses on a nerve.
  • Arthritis. Wear and tear on your vertebrae can lead to early arthritis.
  • Bone Spurs. Bone spurs can develop due to the stress on your spinal column and can cause pinched nerves.
  • Hunchback. Formally called kyphosis, the condition causes your back to become rounded due to a curvature of the spine.

Poor head position may also lead to other health problems. It's harder for your lungs to expand completely when you sit in a hunched position. When you take in less air, your heart has to work harder to ensure that enough oxygen reaches every part of your body via your bloodstream.

Who Is at Risk?

Anyone who spends time texting or using a smartphone can suffer from text neck. Your risk of developing painful back and neck symptoms may be higher if you work in a job that requires you to lower your head and you spend much of your free time using your phone to text, surf or play games.

If you have developed any of the symptoms of text neck, give us a call. Through spinal adjustments and other chiropractic techniques, we can address spinal alignment issues, improve muscle balance and relieve your symptoms.

Sources:

Surgical Technology International: Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Position and Posture of the Head

https://cbsminnesota.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/spine-study.pdf

Los Angeles Times: Teen's Compulsive Texting Can Cause Neck Injury, Experts Warn, 4/24/16

http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-text-neck-20150404-story.html

Spine-health: A Modern Spine Ailment: Text Neck, 11/6/15

http://www.spine-health.com/blog/modern-spine-ailment-text-neck

Spine-health: How to Avoid Text Neck Overuse Syndrome

http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/neck-pain/how-avoid-text-neck-overuse-syndrome

NBC News: Could Text Neck Be the New Arthritis?, 1/12/16

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/essay-could-text-neck-be-new-arthritis-n494856

Cleveland Clinic: Text Neck: Is Smartphone Use Causing Your Neck Pain, 3/24/15

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/03/text-neck-is-smartphone-use-causing-your-neck-pain/

Pew Research Center: Smartphone Ownership and Internet Usage Continues to Climb in Emerging Economies

http://www.pewglobal.org/2016/02/22/smartphone-ownership-and-internet-usage-continues-to-climb-in-emerging-economies/

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I slipped on ice in December, landing hard on my behind. I was in excruciating pain and could barely move. It was a Saturday night but I called the office and left a message (new patient, too, found them on Google.) I received a call back first thing Monday morning, they got me right in that day, and I just completed my 3- month treatment plan. I feel so much better and am happy to have found Dr. Ide and his staff.

  ~Amy Hawker

Dr. Ide and his staff are awesome. I had all but given up and I saw his ad. I am s happy to be out of partial pain and I have only gone twice, I cannot wait for the end results. Just to be pain free. Dr. Ide, I thank you so much.

   ~ Patsy Dimond-Spencer

Dr. Ide and his staff have given me my life back. The day I called to make my first appointment I had been suffering from a migraine and severe neck pain for 6 days. This was also after receiving multiple pain injections from my primary physician with no relief. His staff not only verified my insurance was accepted at this location before even offering me an appointment time (which multiple offices will not do this) over the phone but I was able to make an appointment for the same day. Dr. Ide took the time to obtain pertinent patient history and not only explain but he also showed me on my x-rays why I was experiencing pain. He addressed the root of the problem instead of pushing prescriptions to subside your symptoms. HE discussed my POA in detail and reiterated why finishing therapy and continuing home therapy was important. I was hesitant and nervous about my first adjustment but again, he took the time to walk me through each step. Paired with my weekly adjustments I also receive massage therapy. Monica, the massage therapist is incredible. She takes the time to ask specific questions before the massage to ensure she provides the best care possible. Kasey, Dr. Ide's assistant is extremely personable and continues to make sure you feel comfortable throughout your visit. The front staff also provides a warm and welcoming environment. Within my first month of treatment, I'm able to go das without a headache now and I have reduced the frequency of my pain medication. I highly recommend Dr. Ide and his staff!

    ~Leah Craig

Very friendly staff and knowledgeable doctor! After doing a 3 month program, I no longer have daily headaches, back pain or neck pain. Most doctor's adjust your back and send you on your way - Dr. Ide makes sure to turn it into a lifestyle change by improving your posture and fixing any issues you may have. I would definitely recommend him over any chiropractor.

    ~Lauren Dunigan

I always have good service and leave feeling good! The people are nice and all know my name. I really like how they do business for senior citizens... that's a big plus!
~Nancy Matson

Very extensive in the examination. Not like other chiropractors I'd seen who just do a quick adjustment. They diagnosed the problem and are working to correct it with me. They have even went so far as to work out payment arguments for the things my insurance wouldn't cover.

    ~Brandon Ogle

I had neck and shoulder pain since 2010. Ever since I started going to him I have felt better and better!

    ~Andrel Jacobs 

I had ankle problems all my life in my left foot. Dr. Ide adjusted my ankle for me and within one adjustment my ankle felt the best ever. Thanks Dr. Ide!

              A.H.
              Fenton, MI

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