We as humans living in the 21st century have a tendency to be glued to our hand held devices. We spend close to 2 hours a day staring at mobile or tablet screens at average. The angle that we use to look at our phones or tablets to get the most optimal view puts a lot of strain on our necks and spine.
Chiropractors in the US are now seeing a growing number of patients who are coming in with chronic neck pain that is being caused by increased used of mobile phones and tablets. The common term that is now being used for this epidemic is text-neck and it’s becoming a growing concern for men and women of all ages.
Text-neck as it is framed is caused for hunching over to have a look at your hand held device. The strain it puts on the spine and neck is immense, it effects are even worse when people already suffer from poor posture. Some of the easiest ways to prevent text-neck according to Sandy Bowman from Health Source of West Des Moines is to “You can, instead of looking down, you can raise your device up. So, you’re looking more directly at it.”
Dr. Bowman also recommends doing some short exercises at work to relieve the stress on the neck by “Just sitting up straight at their desk. Place their hands underneath their desk and just push up under the desk like they’re going to lift the top of the desk up. What that does is really activates those muscles that get weakened from head forward posture.”
She also added that it’s important to identify when the pain is not relievable through the above means. If you have reached that stage, its important that you immediately visit a chiropractor that can asses the damage and provide medication before your text-neck turns into a chronic back and neck pain.
So the next time you plan to pick up your phone, don’t forget to pay close attention to how you hold your device and of course maybe cut down on time you spend working from a smaller screen. If you still face neck pain and back pain the best thing to do is consult a professional chiropractor that specializes in chronic pain.
Text neck is set to become the next pandemic for neck pain. A growing number of both young adults and teens are now suffering from this new form of neck pain induced by spending too much time looking at their mobile devices and tablets. Unfortunately there’s no way to stop us from using our smart phones and laptops but there are some easy ways to protecting yourself from becoming a patient of text neck.
People in general tend to use their technological devices from anywhere between 2 to 4 hours a day. This totals up to 700 to 1,400 hours a year spend looking down at a screen. For every 15 degrees that you turn your head down you add 20 pounds of pressure. The lower you look the worse it gets. 60 degrees is the most common angle for viewing devices and that in turn adds 60 pounds of pressure on your neck which is also sent down your spine.
When we apply so much pressure to the neck what it results in is a herniated disk, bulging disk or even arthritis. Most of these health issues were more common in much older adults but are now being found in pre-teens and teens too. The below video illustrates 4 easy exercises that can help you prevent text neck.
Carrying out these 4 simple exercises daily will help alleviate any pain that arises from looking at a screen for too long. We agree that its tough to stay away from technology in this day and age but always remember that your health comes first and any chronic pain that’s related to the spine should not be taken be taken lightly.
The curcuma longa plant which is also known as turmeric might hold some very interesting secrets to solving health related issues which include back and neck pain. Multiple studies have shown that turmeric and its constituent of curcumin can help or treat a wide range of cancers, inflammatory conditions, autoimmune problems, neurological ailments including Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and diabetes neuropathy, among other metabolic diseases.
Dr. Joseph Maroon who is a noted UPMC neurosurgeon says he uses curcumin supplements as part of his health regimen as an ultra-marathon runner. He not only actively uses it himself but also recommends it to his patients with pain and inflammation from degenerative problems of the spine, neck and lower back.
Curcumin influences 700 genes, including ones that inhibit activation of the COX 2 gene, which produces an enzyme by the same name that causes pain and inflammation. The compounds that are present in turmeric act as a natural pain killer, which make it a great natural remedy for inflammatory pains.
Not only does turmeric not have any adverse side effects of it consumption but its also one of the ingredients that are actively used in Asian curries. Most people who prefer to take curcumin though try to taken them in tablet form but those who feel more adventurous do add it to their food as well.
Dr. Maroon recommends “people consume 500 to 1,000 milligrams supplement of curcumin a day, with daily doses not exceeding 2,000 milligrams. A teaspoon of turmeric contains about 200 milligrams of curcumin. Some health advocates recommend consuming turmeric rather than a curcumin supplement because other compounds in turmeric offer their own health advantages”.
Overall the benefits on consuming curcumin and its ability to address more than one medical issue that neck pain makes it the perfect natural ingredient to add to food or consume as a supplement. It has no side effects and is ten times cheaper than over the counter medicines that doctors usually recommend to ease inflammatory pain in the knees, back and neck.
Being obese and overweight is not the only problem that for those who face chronic neck and back pain. Text neck is increasingly becoming the second largest cause of neck pain. Think of it this way, our heads are not light parts of our bodies. Our heads weigh around a few KGs and the neck bends forward down.
The 15 degree incline when texting increasing the weight pressure on the spine, at 15 degree the weight is 10 KGs, at 30 degrees its 20 KGs and at 45 degrees its 25 KGs. The more we bend our neck the fore weight the spine has to endure.
Smart phone users typically spend 2-4 hours a day hunched over watching videos, reading emails or texting. If you feel like that weight is not a big number, just imagine you walking 4 hours a day with a child resting on your neck. While it’s perfectly OK to use a smart phone, excessive use is the biggest problem.
In this day and age both young and old people are addicted to their smart phones and this in turn over time is bringing forth more and more patients who are suffering from neck pain.
Tom DiAngelis, president of the American Physical Therapy Association‘s says, “effect is similar to bending a finger all the way back and holding it there for about an hour.” He also added “As you stretch the tissue for a long period of time, it gets sore, it gets inflamed,” he said. It can also cause muscle strain, pinched nerves, herniated disks and, over time, it can even remove the neck’s natural curve.
The pains of using technology and its adverse effects over time are definitely ones to be wary off. As technology becomes more and more accessible we as humans have to learn to use it in moderation so that it doesn’t harm our bodies in the long run.
It’s common from time to time to face a sore or stiff neck. For some people this is almost a daily or weekly occurrence. There are many ways to easily bypass sore and stiff necks from the comfort of your home. Below are some of the ways we suggest you go about:
The muscles in our neck tend to get tight and that is what causes a stiff neck. In order to ease that pain, applying gentle traction can help. One of the easiest ways to do this is as so:
Place a hand towel which is double folded underneath your head, specifically only covering the occiput which is the rear part of the skull that rounds out to the neck and lie down on it.
Have someone gently pull the towel straight towards them. Try to get them to hold the position for at least 3 minutes.
Repeat the exercise 2-3 times per-day or until you feel some relief.
Taking a simple salt bath can ease a sore neck. Since sore necks are so common and the fastest way we suggest overcoming them is to take a bath with Epsom salts. The magenesium sulfate in the Epsom salt will reduce the rate of calcium bindings in the muscle contractions therefore relieving sore muscles.
Simply add two cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath and soak your body including your neck for 15-20 minutes.
There is an acupuncture point on the body that goes by the name of Luo Zhen which is commonly used to relieve neck pain. This point is found on the back of the hand between the two bones in the depression just past the knuckles of the pointer and middle finger.
How to go about relieving neck pain through this Luo Zhen point is by massaging in the direction opposite to that of your neck pain. So if your right side of the neck hurts, massage the finger area on the left hand. So on and so forth.
Maintain pressure on that point and massage in small circles and at the same time also move your head from side to side to free up the muscles. After a few minutes your range of motion for your neck should increase and decrease your neck pain too.
It’s a fact that we spend over 8 hours at a desk or on a chair everyday. It’s no longer not an option to work from a desk unless you’re out on the field. While you may think that sitting at a desk is the most comfortable job, it really isn’t. Sitting at a desk improperly is what is the leading cause of back and neck pain.
Steven Conway, Ph.D., a chiropractor and attorney in Athens, Wisconsin, and a spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association says that we’re built to move as humans. Sitting in one place over a long period of time puts us at risk for chronic pain related to different kinds of joint pains.
Dr.Conway has come up with some of the best ways to address pain while spending time at your work desk:
The problem: You’re used to cradling your phone between your shoulder and neck while you do other work such as looking at your screen.
The fix: The simplest solution is to use a handsfree headset or the speaker phone and make sure you have your screen adjusted so you’re not having to tilt your neck up or down to look at it.
Mid back Pain
The problem: Slouching at your chair and sitting still for over an hour
The fix: Get out of your chair more often, doctors recommend moving every 20 minutes. It’s also easy to do some simple stretches from your chair, such as looking up at the ceiling and sitting flat against the back of the chair. The best case scenario though is to get off your chair and just take a 2 minute walk around the office.
Lower Back Pain
The problem: Your chair is not at the right height and the chair back is completely vertical
The fix: First proceed to adjust your chair height and make sure your arms align with your desk so that they’re slightly bent when typing. Also make sure your seat is reclining or has lumbar support. Adjust the tilt of your chair to maintain the curve of lower spine. If your chair doesn’t provide the right support you can consider getting a support cushion to help you.