Computers, screens, tv's, tablets, and especially cellphones surround us in our everyday lives. All of this technology puts unnecessary strain on our eyes and brains, but in particular smartphones can cause serious and permanent damage to our back and neck. Adolescents and young adults are particularly susceptible due to the number of people using these phones for a constant virtual connection with others.
When we look down at our phones, our neck tends to bend forward or hunch over, and this posture can have a serious impact on our health and wellness. Prolonged tablet and smartphone use has been shown to cause changes in the joints in our neck that control our balance and posture.
A recent study of healthy individuals of young adult ages showed that use of a smartphone created a flexed cervical (neck) posture, which then resulted in a disturbance in neck proprioception. The above chart explains that as the head and neck are brought forward and down by degree of curve, it adds weight to the neck and spine, causing damage. At a 15 degree curve there is an added 27 pounds to the cervical spine. At 45 degrees angulation an added 49 pounds happens! Repetition of this posture can lead to several symptoms such as neck and back pain, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, arm and hand numbness or tingling, headaches, mood imbalances, sensory processing imbalances, nausea, decreased reflexes, shoulder discomfort, and even has an effect on the way our digestive system breaks down our food. Text neck even has shown to alter how the brain perceives our environment!
The above chart also lists just a few of the things that a long term forward head posture can cause such as muscle and nerve damage, disc compression, arthritis, and loss of lung volume capacity! How do you prevent long-term damage from forward head posture and text neck? Start by lifting the phone to your face instead of face to the phone or tablet. Secondly, limit screen time. Although difficult to decrease our desires to constantly be connected to others, the constant use of tablets, computers, and phones can have detrimental health effects. Lastly, visit your chiropractor! Especially an upper cervical specialist doctor who can help save the curve in your cervical spine that prevents long term damage. Specific, gentle, cervical adjustments restore balance and curve to your neck and back. All children should visit their chiropractor regularly as a normal part of their healthcare. We cannot avoid the use of these technological advancements, however we can control how our bodies respond and adapt to the constant use of screen time. Want to learn more about text neck? We are here to help!
Yours in Health,
Dr. Nicholas J. Knutson
MOUNTAIN ISLAND CHIROPRACTIC
10917 Black Dog Ln., Suite 101
Charlotte, NC 28214
Tel (704) 394-8556
Fax (704) 395-8556
"If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special." JV
Mousavi-Khatir R, Talebian S, Toosizadeh N., Olyaei GR, Maroufi N. Disturbance of neck proprioception and feed-forward motor control following static neck flexion in healthy young adults. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology. 2018;41:160-7.