(02/12/18) We spend many hours a day surfing the web, texting and scrolling on social media. To some people performing these activities cause only common injuries. However, what most may not know is that you could be causing major health concerns like Text Neck.
Text Neck is a physical condition that’s sweeping the nation, “Whenever people wind up being on social media [or] different devices, they wind up hunching over and they look down. What’ll happen over time [is] your body will begin to remodel to that position,” said Dr. Daniel Steffins, Doctor of Chiropractor.
The Surgical Technology International Journal shows that when a person’s head sits parallel to their shoulders, it can weigh anywhere between 10-12 pounds. For every 15 degrees the head tilts forward, it can add roughly 12 additional pounds. For reference, at about 60 degrees, a tilt of the head can add up to 60 pounds of weight.
“You can have tension, cluster, chronic headaches [and] they’ve even linked shortness of breath. Even things like heart disease can actually worsen through this,” said Dr. Steffins.
Sheila Hutson has suffered from severe neck problems. “I’ve got arthritis in my neck [and] I have severe spinal stenosis, [my] vertebrae collapsed on the nerves. Whenever I would prop my phone up on my shoulder and tilt my head, it aggravated the condition,” she said.
Hutson’s trauma was so serious that she had to undergo surgery last year. Activities such as texting and scrolling through social media would aggravate her already significant injury.
According to Dr. Steffins, text neck is causing physical pain in ages earlier than he once saw. However, he said there are methods to help repair the damages that text neck can cause. “Going through and taking your neck just through side to side stretches [and] doing isommetric exercises. [Also] if you’re going to be on a device, hold it up, don’t look down. If you’re going to look down use your eyes not your head,” he said.
Hutson says she practices these methods for herself, though at times it can be hard.
However, if you take away nothing else, Dr. Steffins asserts that if you are proactive in fixing the way you use your mobile devices, you can reverse text neck. “You can strengthen the mobility, you can put mobility back into a joint as long as it’s not fused, but once the bone is changed, the bone is changed.”
Even Hutson has some advice of her own, “Any repetitive actions like [texting] are going to wear and tear on your joints over time. You need to limit your time on them [because] you’ll pay for it in the long run.”
Before you conduct any exercises Dr. Steffins advises that you consult your primary healthcare physician.