Got Text Neck?
By: Dr. Evangelos Mylonas DC.
How Do I Tell The Difference Between Text Neck and Regular Posture?
This holiday season many of us will likely receive a new laptop, iPad, or smart phone as a gift. At Kinetic Health we like also enjoy electronic gadgets, but over the past couple of years we have noticed an ever increasing rate of neck injury directly related to the use (and in most cases overuse) of these hand-held mobile devices. We often refer to this postural strain of the neck and upper back as “text neck”.
Now, we are not saying that you should give up your electronic devices. In fact, we embrace technology. The problem actually lies in how people use their technology, not in the technology itself. Just watch anyone using their iPad or tablet. They typically are looking down, with their neck and upper back flexed forward. The shoulders are rolled inwards and their chest is pulled downwards.
What is Forward Head Posture?
The arms are slightly stretched out in front, bent at the elbows with the wrists and hands flexed upwards to support the tablet as the thumbs and fingers perform short rapid movements as they surf the net, text or play games. This “slouched” position increases the load placed on the cervical spine, shoulders and related soft-tissues resulting in a Forward Head Posture (FHP). In fact, FHP is one of the most common causes of muscle strains, neck & back pain, and tension headaches.
Forward head posture is not a new condition, and has been studied by both the Chiropractic and medical communities over the past few decades. What has changed though is our reliance on texting and emailing as forms of communication. If we consider the millions of electronic communications that occur daily, an increase in postural strains and their related health conditions is a natural consequence. Research has demonstrated that for every inch that the head shifts forward, the neck experienced an increased for of 10 pounds in weight. That is a 100% percent
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
All of us at Kinetic Health would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best this Christmas Season and for the New Year to come.
We would also like to thank you for choosing us to take care of your health care needs. We hope that we can be of service to you in the next year. Merry Christmas! increase in the relative weight of the head for every inch moved forward, and this forward displacement correlates directly with the duration and frequency of tension- type headaches (Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 2006).
Poor neck posture influences many of our body’s other systems as well. Rene Cailliet, MD, Director of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at USC, concluded that FHP is strongly associated with decreased respiratory muscle strength in patients and can reduce lung capacity by as much as 30%. He also found a relationship between Forward Head Posture and the digestive system as well as endorphin production affecting pain and the experience of pain.
How Can I Prevent Text Neck?
Now for the good news. At Kinetic Health, we are posture specialists. We believe that awareness of correct vs. poor posture is the first step toward resolving postural conditions. We help all of our patients to become conscious of their postural habits and provide them with specific c exercises that are designed to correct poor posture.
Today, we would like to provide you with some tips on how to use your laptop, iPad and smart phone in a smarter way.
- Try not to sit in a static position for a long period of time. Get up and walk around. Take frequent breaks and perform some stretches.
- Bring the technology up to your eye level rather than placing it in your lap. Sit with your head and back in a supported position.
- Limit texting to just a couple of minutes at a time.
- Get at least 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise daily.
- Most importantly, listen to your body and report any new pain to your Kinetic Health team. We can help you to address postural strains and overuse injuries before they gain a foothold and become chronic conditions.
If you find that you are suffering from neck pain related to postural strain or any other condition, please feel free to contact us at the clinic. (403-241-3772) We can help!
For more information, watch our video about “Text Neck”.
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