We touch our smartphones over 2,617 times a day, according to a recent study, and the average person checks theirs over 46 times a day. The typical person looks at their phone from about chest height or slightly lower, causing them to tilt their head, crane their neck and place tremendous pressure on the upper cervical vertebrae of their spine. Since the human head weighs around 10 lbs on average and makes up around 8 percent of your total body weight, all that pressure takes its toll on our spinal structure and the nerve endings that travel through them.
What results should sound familiar: neck stiffness, headaches, reduced range of motion, shoulder pain, lower back fatigue and other symptoms of nerve obstruction. Over time, your body will encounter more intense versions of these symptoms and could even progress to more serious nerve complications, such as tingling or bowel issues.
Changing your phone habits by always using it at eye level is one way to fix the problem. But those who already have debilitating symptoms will need treatment to alleviate their pain and help kick start their body’s natural healing process. To discover how chiropractic work for a stiff neck can reverse the damage caused by “text neck,” read on.
How Smartphones Destroy Our Posture and Cause “Text Neck”
Historical cultures, like the Ancient Egyptians, had few issues with back pain because they knew how to use their spine to support their entire body structure effectively. We can see the remnants of this J-shaped spinal posture in many indigenous cultures and modern hunter-gatherers.
However, we Westerners insisted on sitting at desks for hours, leaning our heads forward while working. When smartphones became popular, we adopted this abnormal “head down” posture, which is known medically as “anterior head carriage,” within our daily routine.
The average person spends 4.7 hours looking at their phone every single day, usually while looking downwards at a 15° to 20° angle. This forward head posture transfers weight from a neatly stacked vertical distribution along the entirety of your spinal column into a top-heavy position where upper cervical vertebrae must carry a disproportionate amount of weight.
For every inch you lean forward, you place the equivalent of 10 extra pounds of stress upon these vertebrae. Just imagine a 10-pound bag of potatoes hanging off of these sensitive spinal discs! Critical nerves travel through these discs, leading from your brain to vital organs like the heart, lungs and digestive system. Lower vertebrae can also get stressed out of alignment, re-distributing weight and placing extra pressure on areas of pronounced curvature.
The resulting complications can cause neck pain, shoulder pain, stiffness, an inability to turn your head, headaches and back pain. Since nerves traveling through your spinal cord also govern functioning organs, your breathing capacity can be reduced by 30 percent. The peristaltic functioning of your bowels, which helps you to remove waste from your colon, can also be reduced, leading to straining, constipation and digestive issues.
Chiropractic for Stiff Neck, Shoulder Pain, and Other “Text Neck Symptoms”
You can relieve all of these symptoms and correct the underlying stress upon your vital nerve pathways with a visit to your local chiropractic office in Woodbridge, VA. Your chiropractic professional will diagnose the amount of variance within your spinal curvature compared to the norm and make adjustments to relieve nerve pressure and restore natural functioning.
With just a few visits and ongoing check-ups, adults can undo years worth of “text neck” damage. Teens, who spend an average of 5,000 hours a year texting with their head tilted forward, can prevent serious complications as they age and promote proper, healthy spinal posture.
Give yourself and your family the care it needs to combat the negative effects of poor posture and enjoy a lifetime of wellness when you book your appointment today.