Hunched shoulders? Poor Posture? You’re not alone.
Text neck is a term which is prevalent nowadays due to the widespread increase in the use of mobile phones and other handheld devices. According to a study conducted recently, around 80% of people between the ages 18 and 44 keep their phones in their hands most of the time.
Text neck develops in people who make use of mobile phones or tablets for a prolonged period of time frequently. Its long term effects include degeneration of the spine, arthritic disorders, disc herniation as well as spinal misalignment.
What exactly is a text neck?
The pain that is experienced in the neck and the damage which is caused by continuously staring at the screen of the device is known as text neck. This problem has become fairly common. The habit of looking down damages the cervical spine in the long run.
Dr. Rey Bosita, a spine surgeon at Back Institutes, notes that:
"...daily activities such as texting or computer use can cause the cervical spine to be at risk for developing a number of painful conditions...The bones, nerves, muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the neck all support the spinal cord. This is the primary conduit of communication from the brain to all aspects of the body. Any pain in this region of the spine suggests inflammation or other, more serious conditions and should always be taken seriously."
Signs and Symptoms associated with Text Neck
- Stiffness in the shoulders and muscle spasms in the shoulders
- Acute pain in the upper back due to sharp spasms
- Soreness in the neck area
- Change in posture
- Pain extending from the neck to the arm and hands
- Numbness followed by pins and needles sensation in the upper portion of the body
- Severe headaches
- Poor health outcomes
Causes of Text Neck SyndromE
- Most of us have desk jobs or spend a lot of time hunched over a laptop, tablet or iPhone.
- Most of us sit in a position with our shoulders inwardly rotated and our thoracic spine rounded in kyphosis which also Increases straightens the necks spinal curvature.
- Sitting for a long time with the head bent down
Solutions for Text Neck
There are various steps that can be taken to get relief from text neck syndrome:
- The first thing that needs to be done is to keep the device at eye level for viewing. This helps in maintaining the head in the upright position and reduces stress on the neck muscles. A good way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome as well as text neck is to keep the device on a table with some support so that you do not need to hold it.
- Reducing the time that you spend in front of the device also helps. Allotting a few hours of the day as 'no phone' hours can counteract the damage done to the neck. Kids should only be given access to smartphones or tablets for a limited period of time.
- Taking a break of a few minutes every hour can give a break to the body from a fixed position. It prevents stiffness and acts as a reset button for the body. This is especially relevant for people who spend long hours in front of the computer.
- Rotating the neck ten times in the clockwise direction and ten times in the anti-clockwise direction removes the rigidity in the neck. It loosens the muscles and provides relief from pain.
- Working on your abs strengthens the torso which in turn helps the body stay upright. Avoid the crunches though particularly if you’re already straining your neck
- Stretching exercises can be of great help. I myself have to actively incorporate exercises into my training to help strengthen the muscles in my shoulders and upper back and to draw my shoulders into the proper alignment.
One such exercise protocol involves bringing your shoulders into different shapes lying on your tummy. Firstly, with our arms go into a Y positon, Then T and W and finishing with N.
There are many variations of this and you can do them unweighted or weighted. Hold each of the 4 positions for 15 second holds (squeezing the shoulder blades together and downward, imaging there is a 50 p piece between the shoulder blades). Rest for a minute and then cycle the series 3 times.
Chiropractic Solution for Text Neck
I’m a huge fan of exercise, yoga and calisthenics. These are all great exercises, but there’s a huge misconception about what actually moves the spine. Exercise moves the spine globally, which is wonderful. Chiropractic moves the spine segmentally at areas where there is lack of motion, which is required for optimal brain and spinal function. When your spine is subluxated (out of alignment), you have altered nerve flow which diminished nerve flow to organs, muscles and glands. When you exercise you feel good, because motion blocks pain and discomfort (spinal gating) and deceives you into thinking everything is functioning well.
When I first visited Life Balance Chiropractic few months back, I had severe pain in the neck along with frequent headaches every day. Since being under care for the past couple of months with the chiropractors at Life Balance my neck pain has dramatically decreased and the headaches have become so rare I can’t remember the last time I had one. I still visit Life Balance Chiropractic now with my family after seeing the benefits the care has had with me I wanted my whole family noticed the difference and they got their mum back. They wanted to come in as well, so we all go for a regular visit to get checked and aligned.
Our Chiropractors at Life Balance Chiropractic see so many fitness peeps that look great, but they’re in so much pain. Want optimal health? Get checked and aligned by your chiropractor and exercise regularly.
If your getting headaches check this post.
P.S If you find your developing the hump then check out our free resource pack and make sure when you choose a chiropractor they are the right one for you.