Technology has become an integral part of our lives. Smartphones and tablet devices have encompassed our day-to-day functions at work and at play. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans sent 110 Billion text messages in 2008. This figure is only rising with the increase in smartphone usage. According to dailywireless.org, smartphone shipments surpassed PC sales in 2011. (1)
The term “Text Neck” was coined by Dean Fishman, DC. Common symptoms are neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, and/or numbness or tingling into both arms. To understand what text neck looks like, just take a look at your average teenager, or for that matter, anyone who is using their smartphone writing an email, utilizing social networking sites, or surfing the web. The back is rounded, head is slouched forwards, and shoulders are rounded forwards. It’s a scene that is much too familiar and eerie for a Chiropractor to see. What makes matters worse, is that the body eventually adapts to this behavior, leading to chronic conditions and degeneration. For every inch of forward head posture, the force on spine increases by an additional 10 pounds (2). There is also strong correlation between forward head posture and decreased respiratory muscle strength. (2)
A study performed by Temple University revealed the more college students texted, the more neck and shoulder complaints they had. The study further suggested that most adults between 18-21 preferred texting to emails or even phone calls. (3)
The trend is definitely shifting towards more handheld devices for our everyday use.
Following are a few helpful ergonomic principles that you can apply right away:
- Movement/Take frequent breaks. There are a variety of different gizmos and gadgets that will help keep your mobile devices at eyelevel, but nothing can replace movement. Our bodies were created to move. Prolonged immobility can lead to a whole array of different conditions other than biomechanical stress.
- Be aware of your posture. Have friends or family members keep reminding you about your posture.
- Perform posture friendly exercises, such as Yoga and Pilates. They will help you to focus and be more aware of your posture.
There are also generalized stretches that can be preformed several times during the day. At Total Health Family Clinic, we customize your stretches and exercises to help strengthen any weakness that may have been caused by Text Neck.
Yours in Health,
Ashkan Aazami, DC
Total Health Family Clinic (Chiropractic and Physical Therapy)
Offices located in Landover Hills, District Heights, and Rockville, MD