Oh my aching (Text) Neck!
Are you experiencing achy neck, tight shoulders and recurring headaches in Rochester NY? We hear from many patients that it seems like smart phones and tablets are running (and ruining) their lives. Do you ever feel like the masses are becoming “sheep” that do little more than stare at their phones all day. Not only is overuse of smart phones becoming habitual, it leads to a whole host of problems. Let’s start with…
Chiropractors have coined the term “Text Neck”. This refers to a posture, which commonly develops from over use of phone, computer and gaming consoles. This posture can cause severe pain and lead to permanent injury to the neck if not dealt with appropriately. In Rochester, NY, many sufferers we consult with don’t understand how their discomfort was produced. In many instances, from youth to seniors, gradual aches and pains that occur in the neck catch them unaware. Text neck not only causes neck pain, but also upper back and shoulder pain and in some cases, excruciating headaches.
The habit of looking down at the phone to play games, access the internet, check facebook, shop online, watch videos on youtube, and read e-books inadvertently causes over use and under use of muscles in the front and back of the neck. Imagine going to the gym for a year and only working on your pectoral muscles, this is similar to what constantly checking and playing your favorite time waster games does to your precious neck. At our office in Rochester, we often share with patients that if our spines were as visible as your faces, we’d probably take better care of them.
Sometimes, it can be difficult for medical doctor to make the connection that the patient’s neck pain is coming from their phone. As patients present with neck pain and describe the history of their pain as coming on gradually for no apparent reason. With little or no additional input, it can be difficult for any medical doctor to determine the cause of these aches and pains. However, in Rochester a good, experienced chiropractor can discover the root cause through some directed questions.
Surprisingly, may patients (especially young patients) can have a hard time fathoming that their recreational phone use is causing a catastrophe in their neck. There is also the denial stage that someone has develop a problem with their phone use that also causes the diagnosis of Text Neck to be difficult.
A Natural, Healthy Shape
The healthy neck has a similar curve to the lower back, and when the neck is out of this neutral position, it distorts the natural neutral lordotic curve. Text Neck creates a reversal of the curve in your neck, forcing it out of the neutral position. The process can slowly deform the supporting ligaments of the cervical spine. In the event this continues, ligaments in the back of the neck become overstretched and the ligaments in the front of the neck undergo contracture and become shortened. Eventually, this will cause a reversal of the curve in the neck, even when the person returns to the neutral position of their head being over their shoulders. This habit eventually creates what is known as military neck. That is, a straight neck that is misaligned.
In Rochester we’ve seen even worse: When misalignment of the neck becomes so severe a kyphotic curve may be the result. In this situation (a reverse of the lordotic curve) the unbalanced overly stretched and under stretched supporting spine ligaments add stress to joints, nerves, discs, and muscles. These structures will wear out and can cause premature degeneration of the neck, bulging discs, and numbness and tingling occurring down the arms. Muscles will also become overly active and under active, or weak and tight, and overly strong and lengthened.
What Happens Next?
Beyond the immediate physical discomfort for our patients in the greater Rochester area, overuse of phone and tablets can produce a social disconnect. No doubt you’ve seen cases where use of phone and other media have created situations of distracted driving resulting in automobile accidents and severely impaired lives.
As you can see, Text neck can become a nightmare to deal with. We understand that many people turn to over the counter meds like Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Use of these medications is not necessarily wrong. However, using them without changing behaviors which create the pain is completely counter productive.
At Rush-Henrietta Family Chiropractic, we have a great deal of experience treating patients with neck pain. We have a wide variety of therapies to help your neck and would be happy to show you how successful recovery and natural treatment be! Contact us at 585-321-3200, today!