Why are Smart Phone Users Seeing Chiropractors More?
Even Smart Phone Users Develop “Text Neck” and See Chiropractors More
Smart phone users hold their head in an anterior forward flexed position for hours a day. This position takes the normal lordotic cervical curve (forward neck curve) out of the neck. As gravity comes down on this alordotic neck, it is in a weakened state and the vertebrae can easily twist out of alignment.
New York spine surgeon Kenneth Hansraj performed a study to assess the incremental effects of a forward-tilted head posture on the cervical spine. His conclusions, published in Surgical Technology International in November 2014, have attracted significant media attention.
Dr. Hansraj summarized his findings as follows: “The weight seen by the spine dramatically increases when flexing the head forward at varying degrees. Loss of the natural curve of the cervical spine leads to incrementally increased stresses about the cervical spine. These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration, and possibly surgeries. While it is nearly impossible to avoid the technologies that cause these issues, individuals should make an effort to look at their phones with a neutral spine and avoid spending hours each day hunched over.”
Normal Cervical Curve and Head Posture
Ideally, the head should be centered over the shoulders and there should be a 45 degree forward cervical curve. This arc provides both strength and flexibility. This ideal lateral posture puts the least amount of stress and strain on the body and nervous system. The cervical spinal cord and nerve are actually relaxed in this ideal posture.
What is “Text Neck”? Loss of Cervical Curve, Forward Head Posture
By repeatedly looking down at electronic devices, the head and neck get stuck in the forward flexed position; causing nerve interference. For every inch the head is held forward, the head weighs an additional 10 pounds, according to Human Physiology author Kopandji. A complete loss of the forward cervical arc can stretch cervical spinal cord and nerve roots interfering with normal messages from the brain to the body. Once the neck is in this abnormal position, as gravity comes down, the spine twists out of alignment and further causes nerve interference, loss of health, pain, headaches, numbness and weakness.
Avoiding “Text Neck” Cervical Curve, Forward Head Posture
Dr. Fred Schofield, at Atlas Chiropractic, has had great success in correcting “Text Neck”. Dr. Fred teaches his patients how to avoid “Text Neck”. The solution can be as simple as spending more hours in the day with your head looking above eye level than below. Raise your work station, computer monitor, TV etc. above the level of your eyes. Second, when you catch yourself looking down for a while, go through a specific series of exercises to restore normal alignment.