Have a look around you right now. How many people are sitting on their phones with their heads down. What about you? Are you reading this on your phone or laptop and have your head and neck pointing down?
As I write this a lady is sitting next to me with that exact posture and a little girl is sitting in her pram with her head buried in a phone (a whole other conversation that needs to be had).
Our technology driven lifestyle has us spending more and more time on mobile phones, tablets and laptops and while this has dramatically changed the way we run our lives it has had the added consequence of changing the way we physically hold ourselves. As a result, our posture is changing and not for the better.
This posture, of head bent forward and looking down, has been given the nick name of text neck and trust me it isn’t a good thing.
Text Neck – What Is It Doing To Our Body?
Text neck is a chronic condition where the constant looking down (usually at a device) has created poor posture which has led to pain. It is basically an exacerbated head forwards and shoulders rounded posture and while the name text neck seems comical it is one of the most common causes of neck pain we see in our practice.
On average a human head weighs between 4-5kgs and should sit on top of our shoulders so that its weight is distributed evenly down the spine. As the head starts to shift forward it places more pressure on certain parts of the spine and for every 2.5cm it moves forward of the shoulders it places and extra 4.5kg of pressure on the spine. This increased pressure can pull on muscles, tendons and ligaments and cause subluxations of your spine. Then with the average Aussie spending 5-6 hours on their phone per day this posture starts to cause weak muscles, strained ligaments and even can cause early onset degeneration. This is becoming increasingly concerning in children and young adults as they are spending more and more time in this position in a crucial physical developmental phase.
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Symptoms Of Text Neck
Text neck is usually at a chronic stage by the time you get symptoms meaning it has been building and building for months if not years. As text neck puts extra weight and pressure through the spine and pulls on different tissues it can lead to a variety of physical symptoms but it can also cause poor communication between the brain and spine.
Some common symptoms of text neck
- Neck pain
- Upper back, shoulder, arm pain
- Tingling in arms or hands
- Muscle spasms
- Postural changes
- Irritability, mood changes
- Changes in breathing (harder to breath, shallow breathing)
Treatment Of Text Neck
We understand that most people aren’t going to completely stop using their devices or not look down at them all the time. However the first thing to do is become increasingly aware of this posture and the effect that it is having on your body.
A simple change you can make is when using your phone bring it up to eye level so that your head stays in a neutral position and doesn’t look down. This keeps your joints and muscles in a neutral position and reduces the strain that you are constantly placing on them when looking down.
Chiropractic care is an excellent treatment option for when text neck symptoms have already begun. Just making postural change will not unfortunately help with the issues that have already arisen. As Chiropractors we will take a thorough history and perform a physical exam to assess your spine and nervous system. A lot of the times an X-ray can help identify how severe your text neck is and if there are any structural changes we need to address. Chiropractic care will help mobilise those restricted areas of the spine and loosen up the tight soft tissue structures. We will also be able to help prescribe specific exercises to help your neck!
If you think the pain you are experiencing may be from Text Neck or for more information, please contact InnerBloom chiropractic Bayswater today. Our staff is here to provide you with the right therapy for your condition with long-term solutions and natural healing.