young woman hunched over looking at phone compared to same woman sitting up straight in chair with spine visible

Patients enter our clinic at a phenomenal rate with neck pain from looking down at their mobile devices. Hours are spent on cell phones and laptops because they are convenient. But the price of this convenience is often poor neck posture, leading to text neck. Despite the name “text neck,” pain is not isolated to the neck but also can extend to the upper back and shoulder area.

Chiropractic care is one of the most effective treatments for text neck, and ChiroCare of Florida has solutions for your pain.

What is “Text Neck”?

When using electronic devices, such as mobile phones and laptops, users tend to shift their heads down to look at them instead of guiding the technology to eye level. About 75% of the population spends hours arched over devices for personal or professional reasons each week.

The constant overuse, or stress, on the neck by looking downward is known as text neck and is periodically referred to as tech neck syndrome. Text neck has been a growing problem in society, with high-tech mobile devices being the root cause. Adolescents have a high number of incidents resulting from tech neck. Neck pain is ranked 8th for the most common medical issue among their generation, which is higher than other conditions like asthma.

Hunching over and forward to look at screens causes the body to bend in unnatural positions. The head weighs an average of 10 pounds, and arching over your center of gravity causes muscle damage and joint pain because of the excessive weight. Each time the head moves forward an inch, it doubles the force placed on the spine. The human spine is not designed to handle this additional weight for long periods of time. These misalignments (subluxations) can cause damage to the nerves and potentially to discs.

Common signs of text neck include stiff neck, shoulder pain, and headaches, but if you’ve started to notice pain, the damage has already occurred. The body doesn’t respond to all pain but instead regulates what the body feels. The nervous system signals pain to areas you concentrate on. For instance, if you fall to the ground, there is likely pain throughout the side you fell on. However, you may notice a scratch or swelling in an extremity, causing you to focus on that area over the other areas. This leads to the body’s perception of more intense pain in the area you’re focusing on and less on the other areas.

Relationship Between Forward Head Position and Text Neck

Forward Head Position (FHP) is when your ears are not in line with your shoulders but slightly forward (hyperextended) in relation to the body’s axis. This is a direct result of chronic text neck syndrome. FHP causes a limited range of motion for the cervical spine and can lead to spinal degeneration. There is a direct correlation between FHP and neck pain, leading to less range of motion.

Other conditions developed from Forward Head Position include decreased respiratory function due to weakened and constricted diaphragm function. Sleep apnea is a possible concern stemming from FHP due to the misalignment of the cervical spine causing airway obstruction. The pressure of the forward placement creates a narrow passageway resulting in strained breathing. Patients with Forward Head Position often have balance disturbances leading to potential falls that can cause additional injuries.

How to Prevent Text Neck

Fixing poor posture is the first step to repairing text neck. The cervical spine is shaped like a “C” with an opening in the back, and when you stare at the phone in the misaligned position for too long, it shifts the cervical spine’s shape. Pain forms when this misalignment occurs. However, there is hope in fixing and further preventing text neck.

Raising your screen to eye level will reduce the possibility of text neck. A higher screen level allows you to sit correctly, resulting in proper posture and reestablishing the “C” shape of the cervical spine. Restoring the muscle memory will take time, but it will assist in recognizing when improper crouching transpires.

Avoiding excessive use of electronic devices also helps diminish the possibility of text neck. If you must be on your device throughout the day, try to take frequent breaks and limit looking down at tech devices for more than a few minutes at a time. Limiting your daily average screen time to 1-3 hours max is another recommendation to ease text neck. Limiting the period of time your head is arched over reduces the amount of force on the upper spine.

Exercises for text neck support healing and promote the prevention of future instances. These exercises can be completed sitting in a chair, standing, lying in bed, or even cooking dinner, making them desirable and easy for patients. Our chiropractors will teach you about neck pain causes and help show you how to properly perform the following text neck exercises.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help

Chiropractic adjustments help with neck pain, back pain, and headaches — all of which may be derived from text neck. Receiving chiropractic treatments will alleviate pain and increase joint mobility, resulting in feeling and functioning better.

Don’t wait to schedule an appointment at one of ChiroCare of Florida’s nine locations. Our office will help you with pain management and mobility with our wide range of techniques. Call us today at (877) 388-2165, so we can make you feel great again!

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