Article written by Barbro Brost, DC, the Brost Clinic, Wayzata
Texting and checking emails on our smart phones have made life very convenient. We no longer need to sit down
in front of a computer screen to do most of our daily communication with friends, co-workers, and customers. Most of us run our lives from the smart phone and the use
of this technology starts at an early age. Babies play
games on the phones before they can walk!
The convenient hand held computer (which is really what today’s phones are) has, however, created two new previously unknown diagnoses. Text neck and text thumb.
Text neck is a neck strain and spinal misalignment that results from constantly sitting with the head bent forward looking down at the screen on the phone. The neck naturally has a forward curve, like the arch forward in your lower back. When bending the neck forward for longer periods of time this curve is actually reversed to curve in the opposite direction. This is greatly worsened by the 10-12 pound head that pivots on top of the neck. The forward bent neck with the head pulling forward creates a lot of stress on the spine an all the surrounding muscles that are trying to oppose the forward pull of the bowling ball weight of the head. A 30 degree forward bend of the head relatively increases the weight of the head to 40 pounds at forward pull.
Neck pain, upper back and shoulder pains, as well as headaches are often the result. The long term issues are also the development of poor posture where the forward head carriage starts to seem normal. We are at risk of developing a generation of people that walk bent forward constantly, because it seems natural!
The solutions? Instead of bending the head forward to look down at the phone, hold your head high in a good posture and hold the phone up front of you instead!
Parents, watch your kids and try to encourage better posture (easier said than done!) to avoid future pain and bad posture. If pain or headaches are a problem consult with your local chiropractor for adjustments to re-align your spine and get specific exercises for the neck.
Text thumb is another thumb is another new diagnosis. It is basically tendonitis (inflammation of the tendons) in the thumb from over use. The solution? Stop excessive texting! The poor thumbs are overworked and need a rest!