A new epidemic is arising in our country. Thousands of children and teens are starting to develop degenerative changes and symptoms in their neck due to something that most people do dozens of times per day…text messaging.
The average human head weighs between 10-12 lbs. (4.5-5.5kg). When the head is upright over the shoulders, the weight can be easily balanced by the muscles in your neck. The further your head moves forward, the more stress is put on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your neck, shoulders, and upper back. This problem has existed forever, but has never been this prevalent or widespread. It has been called by many names; cervical kyphosis, anterior head carriage, forward head posture, and now is being called “text neck”, because it is being caused primarily from overuse of smart phones, tablets, and other portable electronics.
The most common early symptoms that are noticed are neck pain, shoulder pain, and headaches. While these symptoms can be a real pain, a bigger problem is what happens if this is left uncorrected, allowing it to progress into degenerative arthritis. The joints in our neck were never designed to withstand being left in a flexed position for such extended periods of time, which leads to cumulative repetitive micro-trauma. Over time our muscles and tendons start to accommodate to the incorrect “text neck” posture, and it can become uncomfortable or even painful to have normal posture.
Other complications that arise when untreated include spinal degeneration, disc herniation, spinal misalignments, nerve damage, arthritis, as well as decreased lung capacity. Early diagnosis and treatment of this condition is important for the correction of text neck, however educating the public about the cause is the best way to prevent future health problems. Be sure to ask your family chiropractor about the best ways to prevent and correct “text neck”.