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Text Neck: The Millennium’s Growing Epidemic

text neckAccording to the Pew Research Center, 64 percent of adults owned a smartphone in 2014, and 7 percent of those considered themselves “smartphone-dependent.” As the popularity of mobile devices has increased, however, so have the negative side effects of their use – including a relatively recent phenomenon known as “text neck.”

What exactly is ‘text neck’?

“Text neck” is becoming more prominent these days for individuals experiencing pain in their neck and back from constantly looking down at their phone or other devices. It arises because the human head, which weighs about a dozen pounds, places more and more stress on the cervical spine as it is tilted downwards. At 60 degrees, it places 60 pounds of pressure – which can lead to pain and discomfort in the short-term and permanent spinal issues in the long term.

What are the symptoms someone could experience from text neck?

Text neck most commonly leads to pain and discomfort in the back of the neck, which can also radiate down to the shoulders. Furthermore, text neck can cause pinched nerves and herniated disks, which occur when the soft center of a spinal disk pushes through a crack in the exterior and leads to pain, numbness and weakness.

What are the possible (and probable) long-term negative effects on the neck & spine from looking down constantly at devices?

In the long term, text neck can remove the neck’s natural curve, which means that many of the temporary side effects (such as chronic pain) will end up being permanent. Furthermore, the effects on the spine may make it difficult to move normally and can reach down away from the neck to affect spinal points throughout the upper and lower back.

How can you treat or “reverse” text neck?

It is important to recognize when you may be afflicted with text neck so that you can receive the proper treatment and make sure that you don’t have any permanent harmful effects. One way to prevent it from developing is to take breaks from mobile phone usage, making sure that you have time to rest your neck instead of putting pressure on your spine for hours at a time. You can also take the time to perform neck stretches by rolling your neck to test its ranges of motion.

Finally, if you do end up developing text neck, receiving chiropractic care can significantly help reverse some of the harmful effects as well as prevent even greater issues from developing in the future. To combat the aches and pains from this somewhat unknown, yet growing epidemic in this era of technology, contact Access to Health at (860) 889-1475.

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