if you are using texting with your phone for 30 minutes or more every day, you probably have a “Text Neck”. CNN reported in Sep 2012 a serious up coming health issue. Neck pain caused by using smartphone with incorrect posture
How Smart Phones and Social Media is causing Neck pain At Young Age?
Iphones and all other smart phones are reportedly causing neck pain and stiffness among users of all age groups but in the past decade, more cases are reported among adolescents or young professionals than elderly.
The reason is pretty understandable since smart phones like iphones are equipped to serve multiple purposes besides calling and texting. You can use your iPhone for emailing, playing games, surfing internet, staying connected to your friends and family members via social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace etc), taking pictures, reading news and what not?
CNN Reports that an average adolescent (8 to 18 year range) spend minimum of 7.5 hours per day on smart phones.
“Text Neck” Is Starting to Develop At Young age Already
The risk of developing neck pain with Smart Phone usage is High
All the individuals who use iphone (or other smart phones) for hours are at risk of developing neck pain, stiffness and discomfort in upper back, shoulder and base of skull. The cause of neck pain is poor posture and undue stress or strain on neck muscles due to persistent forward position of head. This issue is common with most handheld devices like portable gaming devices and tablets besides iphones and other smart phones.
Bending Your Neck For Long Time
Decreases Your Blood Supply To Neck Muscles
When you bend your head forward in an attempt to see your phone screen, your neck muscles contract and that decreases the blood supply to the muscles. With sustained muscle contraction, your blood supply gets further hampered and lactic acid build-up causes pain. Improper neck posture can also exert pressure on cervical vertebrae that may lead to cervical disc herniation, disc prolapse and pinched nerves in long standing cases.
Sometimes, the neck bending also exert pressure on supporting ligaments around neck and lead to micro-fiber damage that makes the ligaments more vulnerable to tearing and injury with sudden neck extension or flexion movements.
What can you do to prevent neck discomfort due to iPhone usage?
Chiropractors and physical therapists suggest following tips to avoid the risk of getting chronic or complicated neck pain in iPhone users:
- Limit the use of iPhone just for checking mails or calling. For reading papers, watching movies or music videos, answering emails and other purposes; use other sources like laptop and computers that are better able to support your back.
- Maintain appropriate neck posture and stabilize your neck and back while using phone for longer period of times.
- It is recommended by physiotherapists to take frequent breaks (at least once in every 20 minutes) while working on desktop computer, iPads or iPhone to relieve strain from tissues and restore blood circulation.
- Make sure to see your chiropractor or physiotherapist if you are developing problems or neck pain.
- While using phone, make a habit of resting your head on a support and avoid forward tilting of head as much as possible.
Treatment of “Text Neck”
It is recommended to watch for warning signs to prevent muscle fatigue or damage to delicate supporting tissue of neck. If you are experiencing recurrent bouts of neck pain, stiffness, headache, dizziness or fatigue; see your healthcare provider and limit your phone usage. Chiropractic care is perhaps one of the most effective therapies in relieving neck pain and discomfort today by hand or machine manipulation of neck vertebrae. Common therapies employed are:
- Readjustment of neck vertebrae
- Realignment of muscles, tendons, soft tissues and nerves
- Massage of neck to release toxins from the tissue and maintain steady blood flow across neck musculature.
Other popular therapies that may also help include pain-killers and supporting erect neck posture by collar in severe cases.
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