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Is Too Much Texting Hurting Your Neck?

Have you heard of "text neck?" Dr. Dean Fishman, a chiropractor in Plantation, FL has coined the phrase and created the Text Neck Institute after seeing a massive influx in younger patients to his chiropractic office complaining of neck, back, arm, and shoulder pain. Says Dr. Fishman, "Whenever kids came to the office with pain, I noticed they were always on their phones. They would be positioned at 'forward head posture,' but that term wasn't resonating with parents. After I started calling it 'text neck,' we got an emotional response and decided to trademark the name to help change the way people hold their mobile devices."

According to the Wireless Association, U.S. wireless consumers sent and received an average of 6 billion text messages per day in 2012. Of the 6 billion people in the world, over 4 billion have mobile phones. Texting has become the dominant form of communication. More people are communicating with mobile devices than ever before, and the apps, media content, and games available on smart phones means that more people are going to be in the "forward head" posture for extended periods of time, which increases the chance of pain.

According to the Text Neck Institute, "The frequent forward flexion causes changes in the cervical spine, curve, supporting ligaments, tendons, and musculature, as well as the bony segments, commonly causing postural change. Among the chief complaints associated with Text Neck are pain felt in the neck, shoulder, back, arm, fingers, hands, wrists and elbows, as well as headaches and numbness and tingling of the upper extremities." 

Fortunately, the pain is very treatable. The Text Neck Institute conducted its own study with two groups of patients aged 13 to 27. Both groups received chiropractic adjustments, x-rays, and exercises to do at home. The group that was told to hold their mobile devices at eye level reported the most improvement, although both groups reported feeling better after a month of treatment.

While living in the modern digital age surrounded by devices and instant access to information and communication, the conveniences can come with the price of discomfort. To start relieving the cervical compression you may be experiencing from hunching over your handheld devices, start holding your gadgets at eye level and do some simple stretches and exercises to elongate the neck and strengthen the back muscles. 


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