What is Tech Neck and Can it Be Avoided

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TECH NECK

by Dr. Nicole Murphy

Have you heard about the newest disorder plaguing teens and many adults? It’s called Text Neck, and even though the name is silly, the effects are not. What is it really? Text neck is upper back and neck pain of varying severity, from a constant nagging discomfort to a sharp severe muscle spasms. Worst case scenario, a nerve becomes so irritated that pain or numbness can radiate down the arm into the hand. This is all caused by the poor posture associated with reading or looking at your phone. Shoulders hunched with the head forward and looking down. You may even be doing it right now. If you don’t currently have pain, then you might think you’re in the clear, but anyone who has come into the office knows how important proper posture is to your spinal wellness. When we have good posture, the head is over the shoulders and the muscles in the front and the back can work together to carry the load of your head. Keeping good posture decreases the likelihood of developing arthritis or spine degeneration, and you’ll feel better overall! As our posture gets worse, the muscles in the front of the neck shorten and the ones in the back end up working harder to just hold your head in place. This change in compressive load also increases your chances of arthritis and diminished range of motion. Text neck can even negatively impact how well you breathe. For every 10 mm your head is forward, it feels 10 pounds heavier to your body. 10 mm is not that much! I find most people are 30 degrees or more forward of where they should be, and it causes a whole host of problems.

So what can you do to reverse what is already happening? Over all, it all leads back to good posture. When you are looking at your phone hold it higher, at eye-level. Be sure to do this with any screen you are looking at like a laptop or tablet. Take frequent breaks- ideally getting up every 20 minutes even if it is just standing and stretching, or doing a squat. This will help reset your posture and fire all of the large muscles reminding them to be doing their job. At your desk the middle of your screen should be right in front of your eye line. Keeping your neck and shoulder area loose and as relaxed as possible is very helpful in preventing the pain of text neck. The following are some stretches and postural exercises that can help.

Neck tuck exercise

• Range of motion movements:

• Turn head as far as you can to the right and hold for 5 seconds repeat to the left
• Look all the way up for 5 seconds then down for 5 seconds
• Side bend to the right like you are bringing the ear to the shoulder while keeping the shoulder relaxed for 5 seconds. Repeat to the left.

• Shoulder rolls:

• Rotate the shoulders in a clockwise direction while resting the arms down the sides of the body for 10 rotations then repeat counter clockwise.

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• Thoracic Flexion:

• With one hand, grab the thumb of your other hand.
• Round shoulders and reach forward.
• You should feel the stretch all across your upper back and shoulders.
• Hold for 30 seconds and complete once an hour while you are working.


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• Thoracic Extension:

• Palms forward, and arms parallel to the ground.
• Squeeze shoulder blades together and look up
• You should feel the stretch all across your upper back and chest
• Hold for 30 seconds and complete once an hour while you are working.


Another important part of combating text neck is making sure you have the right pillow for the way you sleep and for your body. If your head is tilted forward all day from poor posture, keeping it in the same position through the night only leads to further pain and discomfort. The ideal sleeping positions are either on your side or back. If you often find yourself on your stomach, then you must sleep with a very thin pillow if you use one at all. This keeps you from having your neck torqued at an uncomfortable angle all night. If you are on your back your neck should be supported, but not tilted forward. Side-sleepers should have their nose lined up with their breastbone. This is such an essential part of maintaining a healthy spine that we’re running a special this month! Bring in the pillow you sleep on and receive a free evaluation to find out if it is the best for your sleeping position, or if another would suite you better. We offer back/side and stomach sleeper pillows in the office, all of which will be 20% off for the month of April only.

Text neck is a problem that only seems to be getting worse, but cell phones have gotten a bad rap. Any activity that brings your head forward for long periods like studying, working from a laptop, reading, or working with children can cause the same problems. It all leads back to poor posture and lack of motion.

Be aware of your posture and your spine will treat you right!


Noah's Bandage Project1

April 29, 2017 7:30am

Corporate Woods

9401 Indian Creek Parkway

Overland Park, KS 66210

In honor of Noah and his legacy, Noah's Bandage Project and Agape Montessori School are proud to bring you Noah's Crown Town 5K Run/Walk. Whole Life Chiropractic is proud to join forces for this wonderful event.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

1. Bring in fun bandages and drop them in our collection bin.
2. Make a monetary donation at Whole Life Chiropractic and we will purchase fun bandages.
3. Visit noahsbandageproject.com and make a monetary donation which will be used to fund pediatric cancer research.

Noah's vision was to make the lives of kids like him better as they endure the trials and pains associated with the normal course of treatments. Please know that the donations of funds and bandages will continue to be used toward accomplishing his vision.


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