It’s been nearly three-quarters of a century since the comic strip “Dick Tracy” featured characters wearing a small “two-way wrist radio,” and more than 50 years since the introduction of a handheld communicator in the TV series “Star Trek.” Though seemingly far-fetched, these ideas stirred the real-life quest to develop a small personal handheld communication device. Who’d have thought the chiropractic profession would be brought into the mix?
Although the benefits of having a cell phone are undeniable, there are drawbacks, including the physical risks from the act of texting. This risk is a condition doctors of chiropractic commonly call “text neck.” Texting has now surpassed phoning as the most popular form of communication.
The average number of texts each person makes is 30 to 40 a day. Texting has become so common we don’t think much about it. The next time you’re out, look at the forward tilt of the heads of those texting. The human head weighs an average of about 10 pounds. Now imagine taking a 10-pound bowling ball and placing a broom handle in one of the finger holes, so the broom handle, when held upright, is about six inches below the bowling ball. As long as the bowling ball is straight above your hand, the heavy ball is balanced and relatively easy to hold upright.
Now think about tilting the broom handle forward as if you would when texting. The amount of stress you feel in your hand and wrist is significantly increased. This amount of stress is similar to what happens to the structures at the base of your neck when you text. Now think about doing this 30 to 40 times a day.
Want to know what text neck does to your body? It compresses and tightens the muscle, tendon, and ligament structures in front of the neck while lengthening the muscles, tendon, and ligament structures behind the neck. In the short term, texting may cause strained muscles and the discs between the vertebrae to compress. In the longer term, actual postural changes are likely to occur. Postural changes have been linked to the increased probability of headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, and upper back pain.
Unfortunately, doctors of chiropractic see this stress happening in kids as young as 10 or 11 years of age. Research indicates that symptoms developing at that young age will establish a continuing stress pattern as these kids grow into adulthood.
Here are five ways to help prevent the results of text neck:
Chiropractors are devoted to optimizing and preserving health through non-pharmaceutical treatments, nutrition changes, constructive exercise, posture and lifestyle medications, and proper spinal function. Evidence-based research studies continue to show chiropractic is effective in the treatment and care of musculoskeletal problems.
Further, a chiropractor’s treatment and care is at least as effective, and sometimes more effective, than other forms of healthcare for the same problems. News about the effectiveness of chiropractic is not new to many patients. A greater than 90% average satisfaction rate with chiropractic care is well documented in the report Chiropractic: A Safe and Cost Effective Approach to Health.
The College of Chiropractic at Cleveland University-Kansas City takes great pride in providing training in diagnosing and treating problems, from occurrences of low back pain to the onset of newer conditions such as text neck.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), founded in 1922, is a private, nonprofit, chiropractic and health sciences university in Overland Park, Kansas. The CUKC mission is to educate and develop leaders in health promotion and healthcare education. The CUKC on-campus Chiropractic Health Center is open to the public and treats patients from Kansas City’s 15-county metro area. Our goal is to provide care and solutions for a better, more productive life for our patients.