In this day and age, it is safe to say that almost all adults have a cell phone, especially in the United States, and the majority of teenagers most likely do as well. Most of those phones are most likely smart phones, and as a culture we are spending more and more time on them. Whether it be for entertainment, business, or just keeping in touch with loved ones, they have become a necessary part of life. Add in tablets and netbooks and that is even more time spent using handheld electronic devices. But, all of that time spent on these devices can have a terrible effect on the health of your neck and back!
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The term "Text Neck" has been given to describe the neck pain caused from overuse of smart phones and other similar devices. Text neck is an overuse syndrome or a repetitive stress injury usually involving the head, neck, and shoulders, and it occurs due to excessive strain on the spine from the repeated looking forward and/or downward constantly at handheld devices. This strain can lead to pain in the neck, shoulders and arms, headaches, compromised breathing, and more. And it is not just limited to the upper body. While this position usually only strains the muscles in the neck and shoulders, the pain it causes can actually affect the spine all the way down to the lower back!
One of the biggest dangers about Text Neck is that it is not just adults that are being affected, but children as well. In fact, children may be in even greater danger of neck and back problems, as these handheld devices become a larger part of everyone's lives. Doctors have even begun to notice an increase in the curvature of the spine in kids due to overuse of these devices.
Here are some tips to remember to avoid the so-called Text Neck:
- Remember to sit up straight with your chest out and shoulders back
- Bring your device up in front of your eyes when looking at the screen instead of looking down
- When you do look down, tuck your chin into your chest instead of dropping your entire head forward
- If possible, rest your forearms on a pillow to help minimize neck tension
- Avoid using mobile devices in bright light or sunlight. While straining to see the screen people tend to jut their chins forward, which increases the workload on the neck muscles
At The Illinois Back Institute we are dedicated to educating people, because we know that the more that you understand about your problem, the more likely you are to eliminate it. We specialize in Functional Disc Rehydration - a multi-disciplinary approach to making the back healthier without surgery, injectionsormedications. This works toward relieving the pressure off the disc by allowing the nutrients to flow back into it. In the meantime, the supporting muscles are strengthened and reactivated to help re-stabilize the spine.
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