Remember how your mom always said, "Nothing in life is free"? Well, she was right. High-tech gadgets and smart phones advancing at the speed of light are a modern convenience unlike little else, but the advantages of communication at our fingertips come with a price: text neck.
Here are 5 things you ought to know about text neck, the epidemic that is taking the world by storm:
1. Text neck is caused by poor posture.
Specifically, habitually looking down at a phone or laptop puts extra pounds of unwanted pressure on the cervical spine, causing wear and tear and even degeneration over time. Additionally, in the space between the neck and shoulder is a cluster of nerves. If these nerves are compressed, misaligned, or damaged, the pain is excruciating and difficult to treat.
In short: Text neck puts the head, neck, and spine at risk.
2. Text neck is increasingly common among young people.
Spending as little as two to four hours a day hunched over a smart phone is enough to make a serious impact on the body over time. And though two to four hours may not seem like a long time, it isn't hard to arrive at two hours by adding several 15-minute or half-hour segments together.
For teenagers, specifically, two to four hours on a smart phone is not unfathomable. Some teens likely spend twice that much time in a given afternoon or the space between classes or over lunch. Consider the impact of 1500+ hours of bad posture in a year. It is no surprise that teenagers are at risk.
The lasting impact of text neck on today's young people could be costly.
3. Text neck in combination with a sedentary lifestyle is a recipe for disaster.
With hours of looking down at a smart phone often come hours of relaxing on the couch or sitting still. Generally speaking, we aren't prone to be active when we are engaged in surfing the Internet or texting our friends.
Though the list of ailments for poor posture is long and discouraging, it is made worse by sluggishness or inactivity. The best thing to do is to put the phone down on occasion, stretch, exercise, and return to the technology only once in a while.
The benefits of technology do not outweigh the consequences of inactivity.
4. Text neck can be corrected.
Practicing good posture is the easiest place to start. Making an appointment with a chiropractor is a good move for anyone who is facing the painful side effects of hours spent looking down.
Taking small steps toward better posture can save money and pain in the long run. Choosing to engage in technology as a treat instead of around the clock is a good practice for anyone who wants to live a long and healthy life.
5. Text neck can be avoided.
To be clear: No one is asking anyone to stop using cell phones. Text neck can be avoided without going 1980 on cell phone usage. But avoiding extra pressure on the neck and spine does require forethought and follow-through.
In today's ever-increasing technological age, choosing to dodge smart phone usage doesn't happen accidentally. One good strategy is to look with the eyes instead of moving the neck. Another strategy is to ask friends and family to say something when they notice prolonged periods of poor posture.
In short, text neck is nothing to LOL about. Take it seriously and make any necessary changes before text neck gets the best of you. Let us know how we can help by giving us a call today.
Dr. Andy Johnson