Dr. Bonnie Verhunce
Computers, Cell Phone Texting, and Your Neck - 7/28/2020
The weight of the average head is approximately that of a bowling ball. For every inch it drifts forward relative to your shoulder, ten times more weight is exerted upon the muscles, joints, and ligaments of the neck and upper back, causing strain in these tissues. Take your eyes off your cell phone and have a look at others around you with their cell phones. Are their heads upright? From a side view are their ears centered over the middle of each shoulder? Are you centered when you are texting, using a pad, sitting at a computer, or even watching television or playing games?
Aside from pain, chronic postural problems can lead to joint and disk degeneration and damage to ligaments, muscles, and cartilage. Any alteration in the natural curves of the spine will also lead to vertebral subluxations; areas of the spine where one vertebra does not move properly relative to another. When this happens, nerves that exit the spine at the level of the subluxation can become irritated, as well as the muscles attached to these vertebrae. Irritated nerves can affect not only the neck but the face, shoulder, elbow, arm, wrist, hand, in and fingers as well as resulting numbness, pins and needles sensations, increased sensitivity, or other symptoms. If subluxations are not corrected and adjusted by your chiropractor, then the function will not be restored, leading to chronically tight and restricted segments. Long-term, this makes it near impossible to maintain proper posture.
Neck and Related Pain
When it comes to the treatment of neck pain, and sometimes resulting in headaches, chiropractic is far superior to taking anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, or other medications to relieve your pain. Why treat the symptom and do nothing about the actual structural cause of your pain? According to several studies, chiropractic is more than twice as effective as medical care! Neck, upper back, pain, and shoulder pain that is a structural and/or mechanical problem would best be treated with a chiropractic spinal adjustment, not a chemical temporary relief that tends to mask the pain.
Lack of Awareness
Not only do we not pay attention to our posture during the long hours we spend on these devices, but many people walk, and drive, with eyes glued to their cell phones instead of paying attention to what is going on around them. The number of car crashes due to cell phones instead of driving conditions continues to increase, despite laws passed telling us this behavior is dangerous.
People walking and texting paying no attention, to where they are walking can fall over objects, walk into other people, step off of curbs without checking traffic, and in extreme cases injure others while driving and texting.
Correcting Your Posture
Be aware of your posture at all times and if you are out of position imagine standing as if you are taller than you are. Your thoracic curve will balance, your chest should rise to allow the shoulders to fall back into position. Your head will be more centered taking stress off the area where the head meets the shoulders.
Raise your phone and your head, don’t lower the neck to look down on your cell phone. If you spend a good part of your day on a computer, make it a habit to get up and walk away from it several times during the day to stretch muscles and exercise the neck. While it helps lessen pain, good posture also impacts internal thoughts and research shows good posture raises your confidence.
Use exercises to increase the spinal range of motion. The number of repetitions can vary for each individual, depending on how much restriction you have in the neck and shoulder muscles. An average is 5 repetitions, 3 to 4 times a day.
If chiropractic and exercise are the two most effective tools to reduce neck pain, why not implement a combination of both? Chiropractic adjustments can often immediately reduce the painful pressure and irritation of joints, nerves, and surrounding soft tissues caused by vertebral subluxations.
Regular chiropractic care, plus an ongoing regimen of stretches and exercises, at a reasonable frequency and duration, is your best bet for a healthy, pain-free neck!