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Text's a real issue

If you’re like most Americans, you spend a lot of time talking, texting, or checking social media on your smart phone. It’s true that your smart phone, tablet or computer screen, by themselves, do not cause harm to your neck. It’s the posture we utilize while using these gadgets that may be causing harm to our necks, shoulders and even our spines.

As a result, health care professionals have coined a new name for this medical condition, “Text Neck.” Without realizing the harm we are causing, our natural posture is strained as we bend and slouch to lock our eyes on our electronic screens. Americans average 2 to 4 hours every day on their electronic gadgets, and in an unnatural position. It has been reported that teenagers spend more than 7 hours a day emailing, texting or playing games on their smart phones! Our bodies were designed to be used in an upright position. When we bend our necks or crouch in such a position to see our smart phones, we put stress on our upper vertebrae. The neck tries to stabilize this force, pulling our spine out of alignment. With Americans sending up to 3 trillion texts every year, physicians are starting to see a steady surge of “Text Neck” patients.

Your mother was right when she said “sit up straight, don’t slouch.” Slouching or leaning over your smart phone reduces lung capacity, contributes to vascular disease, gastrointestinal problems and headaches. So, what should you do to avoid the repercussions of “Text Neck” and improve your posture while viewing the screen on your smart phone? Try these recommendations:

  • Try holding your phone at eye level rather than craning your neck to see the screen

  • Rather than typing messages on your phone, download an app that allows you to speak the message, converting your speech to text.

  • Take breaks from your devices. Change positions. Get out of your chair, walk around and stretch.

  • At work, take 5 minutes every hour to get away from your computer screen. Move, stretch, talk with other workers, visit the water fountain, and help ease stress from constantly staring at the computer.

  • Take deep breaths, relax your neck and shoulder muscles, stretch your arms and fingers to increase range of motion.

If you, or your teenagers are experiencing any sort of discomfort or pain as the result of “Test Neck” or any other muscle malady, come in for an appointment so that we can evaluate your problem and make recommendations for healthier posture.

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