Text Neck Is a Global Epidemic

‘Text Neck’ is a world-wide health concern, affecting millions of all ages and from all walks of life. Widespread overuse of handheld mobile technology is resulting in a harmful and dangerous physical condition on the human body, which is known as Text Neck.  Dr. Dean Fishman is a Chiropractor in Plantation Florida, and a leading health care provider for technology induced injuries. Dr. Fishman originated the phrase ‘Text Neck’  to explain the repeated stress injury to the body caused by excessive texting and overuse of all handheld electronic devices.

The term, and the health condition, is derived from the onset of cervical spinal degeneration resulting from the repeated stress of frequent forward head flexion while looking down at the screens of mobile devices and ‘texting’ for long periods of time. While ‘Text Neck’ is certainly a new medical term, the condition is impacting millions and is a growing critical global concern.

Sit up Straight!

The first aspect of text neck that must be addressed is posture. A slumping teenager in a sitting or standing position is nothing new. Parents have been trying to get their kids to stand up straight for decades.

Dr. Sue Hubbard a pediatrician and TV host, recently wrote an article on poor posture in tweens and teens. Dr. Hubbard discussed doing postural exams in her office; “at times a parent will even ask me to discuss posture with their child. The 3- to 10-year-old set generally stands up fairly straight, but tweens and teens are often guilty of poor posture. This is interesting, as most kids this age talk about wanting to be taller, yet they don’t even stand up straight!”

She goes on to say “Then, there are my patients who, for various teenage reasons, feel they are “too tall” and try to hide their height by slumping. In either case, slouching and slumping not only looks bad, but it’s also bad for the back.”

Not only do many teens have poor posture while standing, but have you ever watched as they hunch over computers, tablets, video games and smart phones? Adolescents often spend in excess of eight hours or more a day on these devices — without paying any attention to how they’re sitting.

Here are 3 quick tips to help you or your child sit better:

  1. Sit as little as possible.  If you can stand to do a task then do it.  A least once per hour you want to get out of your chair and walk around
  2. Drink lots of water.  This will help you with tip number one.  Drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day…preferrably more.  A good rule of thumb is to only drink water and drink approximately 1/2 of your body weight in ounces per day.  So if you weigh 150 pounds then you should drink 75 ounces of water per day.  The more you weigh the more you need to drink to be healthy.  So if you are drinking water all day then you will need to get up and go to the bathroom which will greatly benefit your spine as well…it’s a win-win.
  3. Change positions as much as possible when you are sitting.  Change the angle of your chair, the height of your chair, move things around throughout the day.  Your body gets bored sitting in the same position all the time!  Move around!  Our bodies were made to move!

Ways to Stand Tall

Here are some tips to help improve standing posture:

Practice standing up straight. As Dr. Hubbard suggests, try the good old-fashioned technique of standing with the back and shoulders against a wall, then see if you can step away from the wall and maintain that erect posture.

And how about the old book-on-the-head trick?

Younger children find balancing a book on their heads is fun.

And lastly, doing the standing Bruegger exercise against a wall is a terrific way to reposition the head over the neck and pelvis over the feet, strengthen the shoulder stabilizers and stretch the pectoral muscles.

To have your child’s posture evaluated, click here.

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Dr. Tymothy Flory, Dr. James Weiss and Dr. Jameson Wong of Atlas Spinal Care in Upland, California are Upper Cervical Specialists trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Their upper cervical clinic also serves Claremont, La Verne, San Dimas, Glendora and surrounding areas. They are uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraines and other headaches, fibromyalgia, vertigo, whiplash and auto injuries.