Home > Uncategorized > Doylestown Chiropractor Discusses Text Neck

Doylestown Chiropractor Discusses Text Neck

Just about everywhere you look people are staring at their smart phones, iPads, laptops, you name it. But a Doylestown chiropractor says the constant strain on your neck could be causing major damage.

According to Pew Research Institute, more than half of Americans own a smart phone. Then there are all of the laptops, e-readers and tablets. Bottom line: we are looking down a lot.

According to Dr. Jeff McQuaite he often sees patients with aches and pains that turn out to be related to their technology.   His neck pain patients said that they were playing on their iPads for hours on end, looking down at a computer seven hours a day at work, texting or responding to emails on their phones and, reading on their Kindles.

“I am seeing it a lot, especially in teenagers and even older patients,” he says. “We’re so into our electronic devices, and what we’re doing is holding the device at chest- or waist-level, and looking down at the device. It’s causing neck muscles to be shortened and tightened, and shoulders to be rounded forward.”

When your texting, your turning your whole spine forward.  While the head is angled forward, the ligaments and tendons in the neck and back become overstretched. This overexertion can lead to an inflammation of the muscles and can cause mild to severe neck and back pain. There are increasing reports of “text neck” causing lower back pain, which is often chronic.

Any kind of neck, shoulder, or back pain requires some sort of attention, he says. You can stretch at home, get a massage, see a chiropractor or by simply holding your phone higher when you look at it can make a considerable difference. Now there is an app that can help you prevent ‘text neck.”

And yes, “text neck” is a real thing!  According to Dr. Ken Hansraj, M.D., a spinal surgeon at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, “We did a study on the issue of poor posture and how it affects you, especially when you’re on a cell phone or smart device,” “It’s a lot of load, an amazing amount of weight to be carrying around your neck.”

Just how much load does that constant downward-looking gaze put on the neck muscles?

“When your spine is in neutral position, the head weighs about 10-12 pounds,” he says. “At 15 degrees [forward], the neck sees 27 pounds. At 45 degrees, it sees 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees, it’s 60 pounds.”

Text Neck

That’s 60 pounds of weight stress on muscles and nerves that are meant to handle 10-12 pounds of stress, and that much load can do a lot of damage over time.

When you have such aggressive stressors on the neck, you get wear and tear on the spine or even get a bulging or herniated disc. “There is a big cluster of nerves in the area between the neck and the shoulder, called your brachial plexus” he says. “Any compression, irritation, misalignment, muscle spasms, or tension in this area can cause pain that spreads out all the way down to the fingers.”

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