Buzz, Beep, Beep, Buzz, Beep! For the most part cell phones have made our lives much easier. We can now keep in touch with friends, check our emails, get directions, take pictures, and update our Facebook status, tweet, or post a picture to Instagram within minutes and all at the palm of our hand. These are all beneficial to our ever busy lives but have you ever stopped to think whether this chronic cell phone use is beneficial to your health?
Health professionals are starting to see the painful results from this avid cell phone use and have termed the overuse syndrome “text neck”. Chronic cell phone use causes the head to be in a forward tilted posture for extended periods of time. This posture increases the weight of the head on the neck and leads to strain and fatigue of the neck and shoulder muscles, tendons, and ligaments. In addition to poor posture, individuals may also experience neck soreness and tension headaches due to the tight musculature and eye strain.
There is an increased concern for teenagers spending hours on their phone each day as their spines are still developing and maturing. For the growing teen, this extra stress on the spine is leading to arthritic changes and muscle deformity. Health professionals have also noticed accelerated or premature degeneration in individuals far younger than is to be expected.
For many, asking you to put down your phone and limit your daily cell phone use is worse than asking you to give up chocolate. There are, however, a few things you can do to prevent the progression and development of text neck. First, keep your head tilted in a neutral position by holding your phone or electronic device at eye level. Second, take frequent breaks to allow your muscles and shoulders to relax. Try to set mini goals for yourself such as walking from your car in the parking lot to the store without checking your phone. Even these small breaks frequently throughout the day can have a drastic impact to the health of your spine!
If you are experiencing the aches and soreness from text neck, don’t hesitate to visit Dr. Josh Watkins and Dr. Lindsey Hurlbut at Watkins Family Chiropractic. They can help provide home stretches and exercises that will strengthen your neck and further prevent the negative effects of cell phone use. They also have the training and skills to address those stubborn trigger points and ensure your spine is in alignment allowing for optimal functioning. Give us a call today, we would be glad to give you an assessment!