What You Don't know About Text Neck, and Why You Should

Young_people_texting_on_smartphones_using_thumbs.JPG

Technology is a marvelous thing. In our modern world, anyone one of us can access any information we want, when we want. Those of you old enough to remember a little thing called libraries, may recall a very different way of retrieving information.

However, modern technology also produces modern ailments. And in this case, that technology is turning an entire generation into hunchbacks.

Our obsession and reliance on technology is quickly turning into addiction. In fact, this addiction recently gave birth to a new word – nomophobia. Nomophobia is the irrational fear of being without your mobile phone or being unable to use your phone for some reason, such as the absence of a signal or running out of minutes or battery power.

Yes, this is an actual thing. However, the fear of not being able to use your phone, is nothing compared to the health risks associated with constantly using your phone. The result of which can turn a 20-year-old spine into one that appears 10 to 20 years older.

What is Text Neck?

Text neck is the result of your head resting at an unnatural angle for a prolonged period of time, such as when we use computers, tablets, video games, and most prominently – cell phones.

Thank goodness we’re not always on our phones, otherwise this could turn into an epidemic. (Pause to get the sarcasm.)

That’s exactly why this IS such a problem. And according to a 2016 study, the average age of children who receive their first cell phone is 10.3 years old. At that age, problems are compounded as children’s bodies are still developing.

Your head is meant to rest directly over your shoulders, like a golf ball resting on a tee. When your head is tilted down, this contributes to a destructive imbalance to your cervical curve – which is the natural curvature of your neck.

For every inch of Forward Head Posture, also known as FHP, your spine experiences an additional 10 pounds of pressure. So when you lean forward 60 degrees over your cell phone, which is average, the stress on your neck increases by 60 pounds.

At this angle, your back and neck muscles stay contracted, which compresses nerves, and causes problems from headaches and pain to anxiety and depression. And that’s just the beginning.

Health Risks Associated with Text Neck

In the short term, FHP can cause chronic pain, numbness in arms and hands, pinched nerves, improper breathing, and deteriorating mood and emotional stability.

In the long-term, FHP can contribute to Fibromyalgia, early arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, TMJ, asthma, heart disease, and eventually the degeneration of your cervical spine, and even organ failure.

Neurosurgeons refer to the curve of your cervical spine as the Arc of Life. Your spinal bones help protect your brain stem and spinal nerves, which affect every single function and organ in your body. Which is how texting can lead to heart disease.

When it comes to your body, the important thing to remember is that it’s all connected, even when it doesn’t seem like it.

Anytime you’re hunched over or slouching, such as when you text, this also compresses your abdominal organs, which negatively affects your digestion and bowel function. Having digestive issues recently? Try putting your phone down for a couple weeks.

According to University of California’s Director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rene Caillet, FHP pulls the spine out of alignment, which can result in a loss of 30% vital lung capacity. But it’s the negative impact on brain health that may be most troublesome.

Your posture affects your mood and brain function, as in feelings of stress, memory, and even behavior. And there’s an inverse relationship as well. One in which depression contributes to worsening posture. Which, of course, creates more emotional imbalance.

A recent study conducted in Germany supports the premise that posture can negatively affect memory, and even contributes to more negative thinking. In the study, researchers discovered that a sitting, slouched position resulted in the recall of mostly negative words, while those with good sitting posture showed no bias in word recall.

Another study, conducted in 2015, produced even more shocking results. The upright participants in the study demonstrated better self-esteem, improved mood, and less fear. While those participants instructed to slump over experienced an increase in negative emotions, sadness, and feelings of stress.

Solutions and Treatment for Text Neck

Learning better habits, when it comes to posture, is the first step. And it’s a step that may even reverse mild misalignments. However, if you’ve had your head in your cell phone for much of the last decade, you may require a bit of chiropractic help.

Your goal is to correct FHP, and decrease your cervical curve. And this can be done in a number of ways. If your texting habits have already caused a subluxation – spinal misalignment – adjustments to correct the locked-up segments of your spine are likely necessary.

However, treatment can also include myofascial release– a gentle, sustained pressure to the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Gentle traction is another treatment option, as are posture correction exercises.

If you’re interested in a type of exercise specifically designed to alleviate the modern problems associated with slouching and slumping, give Foundation Training a try. Check out the TED Talk below by Dr. Eric Goodman for more information.

If you suspect that text neck has negatively impacted your health, the first step is to seek expert advice from someone who knows a thing or two about spinal health, like your friendly neighborhood chiropractor. Check out our New Patient Special below.

New Patient Special - $49 Exam, Consultation, and Digital X-Rays (if necessary)

*Not Including Medicare Patients and Personal Injury Patients

To meet with me for your one-on-one consultation, fill out the short form below. We’ll call you at a time that’s convenient for you. You don’t have to live with your pain. Let us help you.

Name *
Name
Phone *
Phone

Meet the 5 Essentials for Proper Health and Wellness

farsai-c-232290.jpg

How to get healthy isn’t much of a mystery anymore. You realize that there are certain things you can do to improve your health – eat right, exercise, limit Häagen-Dazs consumption. And certain decisions you can make that will diminish your health – driving thru a McDonalds instead of past a McDonalds.

However, there are five essential areas that we believe to be most instrumental. If you can improve in each of these areas, your overall health will improve as well.

1.     Body Mass

2.     Posture

3.     Movement

4.     Oxygen

5.     Sleep

Body Mass

 Your BMI – Body Mass Index – is a score based on your height and weight. The higher your BMI, the more body fat you have. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for good health, as overweight people have higher incidences of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Body Mass Index Scores

·        Underweight           18.5

·        Normal weight        18.5 – 24.9

·        Overweight              25 – 29.9

·        Obese                        30 or higher

To find your BMI, you’ll need a chart, like this one at Cancer.org. Locate your height on the left side of the chart, and then move to the right until you find your weight. Now move up that column till you get to the top row where you’ll find your BMI score.

Posture

 Turns out your mother was right when she told you to sit up straight. But good posture isn’t just about sitting straight. Good posture is about putting the body into proper alignment whether you’re sitting, standing, walking, exercising, or sleeping.

When your posture is good, your body experiences less strain on muscles, ligaments, bones, joints, and tendons. You experience less aches and pains. Your appearance improves. And your body uses less energy, which means you won’t become fatigued as quickly.

When your posture is bad, your body has to work harder to stay balanced. This can cause strain on supporting muscles and ligaments. It can wear out joint surfaces and cause arthritis. And it can cause backaches and muscular pain throughout your body.

The Mayo Clinic has much more information on proper posture, along with a standing wall test that you can take to assess your current posture.

Movement

 Has any topic inspired as many excuses as exercise? Not enough time. Not enough energy. Not enough _____.

The problem is that you still know how important movement and exercise are, even when you’re making excuses to ditch your next session.

Physical activity combats heart disease, as it helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, while also improving circulation. And just a reminder: heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the U.S.

Exercise is also critical for proper weight management. And even cognitive health, as it stimulates the production of brain chemicals – neurotransmitters – that make you feel happier and more relaxed.

Your sleep will even improve as a result of increased physical activity in your life. If you haven’t already noticed, these five areas are all connected. Improvement in one area leads to improvement in others.

Oxygen

 Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe. You can go weeks without food, days without water, but only a few minutes without oxygen.

Even though we all take breathing for granted, there are numerous bodily functions that are dependent on oxygen. Digestion, for instance, uses oxygen to break down food into energy.

Oxygen improves brain activity, strengthens the immune system, and boosts energy levels. Oxygen also helps to remove toxins from the blood. And it speeds healing. Consider how many athletes are turning to hyperbaric oxygen chambers as part of their maintenance and recovery programs these days.

The greatest benefit of oxygen is that it keeps cells healthy. Anytime you can affect health at the cellular level, you have greater potential to reduce the signs of aging. Want to look and feel young again? Get more O!

Sleep

 Sleep is a nutrient. It’s also an important nutrient. The problem, besides the fact that most of us don’t get enough quality sleep, is that we don’t even realize just how important of a nutrient it really is.

Lack of sleep contributes to more accidents and health problems than most people realize. Which is why the Center for Disease Control has referred to lack of sleep as a public health epidemic.

Quality sleep means getting enough sleep, and also maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. Any time you have disruptions in your sleep cycle, your blood pressure goes up, as does your blood sugar levels.

Research suggests that even one less hour of sleep per night can result in immune system problems and an increase in chronic inflammation. Both of which can contribute to illness and disease.

Getting healthy has never been easier. Get sound advice from sources you can trust, and make better decisions that will affect your health. It’s not complicated. But it does take some effort. Now get out there and stand up straight, move your body, breathe deep, and sleep well. Your health depends on it.