In a restaurant, at the movies, a sports event, on the plane, train or bus - everyone has one thing in common - their heads are bent over their cell phones, tablets and other digital devices. This phenomenon has produced an actual physical ailment; it's call Text Neck. And it is affecting millions of people all over the world.
It's an Epidemic
We love our modern technology, but sometimes there are unforeseen consequences that accompany the advantages of the modern age. Text Neck comes from craning your neck in a downward position while using a digital screen device. Slumping like this causes poor posture that can affect the health of the spine. Adults who use digital technology for hours a day run the risk of early aging of the spine as vertebrae are held in this awkward position for long periods of time. In younger children it could even lead to developmental problems if the spine grows unnaturally from continued overuse and hunching downward.
Muscle pain, pinched nerves and the stress on the spine is becoming epidemic and Physical Therapists are seeing an increased number of patients who are suffering from Text Neck.
Gravity Causes Pressure
Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, MD. Chief of Spine Surgery New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, warns of the stressors on the neck when bending down to view your screen. He says the pressure increases dramatically the lower the head is bent. The further the bend, the greater the tilt, the more force on the neck and spine, "...27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees."
Text Neck Help from Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy offers a solution to correct posture and avoid more severe injuries in the future. Bryon Moffett, a PT from Alabama, treats a number of patients with Text Neck. He wants people to understand the dangers it poses to upper neck, back and the possibility of damage to a cervical disc. He teaches his patients the proper posture for using portable technology and recommends daily exercises to maintain healthy alignment. So there is a way to enjoy the benefits of technology and good posture as well.
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