Have you heard of such a thing as ‘Text Neck’ ?
I mean, it’s no surprise that the physical condition of our necks and spines are affected by the use of our smartphones, but many are unclear on the actual long term consequences of allowing your posture to be compromised.
Text next is a repeated stress injury caused by excessive texting, watching videos, and playing games on a handheld device like a phone. With the growing number of phone users, and the lowering age of children exposed to repeated exposure, Text Neck is being seen more by chiropractors than ever before.
The movement of leaning or flexing the head forward to use a smartphone directly affects the spine. Tilting your head forward by even just 15 degrees will place over 25 lbs of added pressure on the neck. The more you lean forward with your head to view the smartphone, the more weight is distributed, and the more damage is done. Over time, this is seen in our offices as a repetitive stress/strain injury.
The most common symptoms include neck pain, stiffness, and soreness. But some of the other symptoms include:
- Localized pain, usually in the lower neck area. It is often described as a dull aching – but is sharp in some cases.
- A stiff neck including soreness and difficulty in moving the neck after long periods of usage.
- Radiating pain into the shoulders and upper arms is common.
- Headaches as a result of sub-occipital muscle tightness. These are often tension type headaches.
- Muscular weakness in the shoulders.
Other more serious symptoms can be:
- Early onset arthritis
- Flattening of the thoracic kyphosis
- Spinal degeneration
- Disc compression
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of lung capacity
How to Manage or Prevent Injuries
- Avoid excessive use of the phone.
- Take frequent breaks.
- Avoid remaining in the exact same position for extended periods of time.
- Position the device in a way to reduce stress on the head, neck, and upper extremities. This can look like propping your phone on a bag or your purse while sitting on transit, leveraging your phone higher while holding your shoulders back and elbows snug to your sides – preventing further dropping of your head to see the screen.
- Avoid holding larger devices in one hand for long periods of time.
How Can Chiroractic Help?
Chiropractors assess the severity of your injury before beginning an individualized care plan to correct and reserve the damage done to your spinal joints, nerves and muscles. Then a program will be designed to include Chiropractic spinal adjustments, stretches, and exercises.
The Bottom Line
Text Neck is becoming a more commonly seen type of injury, and without prevention and rehabilitation, it can be a long term issue with the possibility of severe consequences. Awareness and preventative measures will be what saves you from acute pain, but regular trips to your Chiropractor will help you to retrain your posture over time.
6 Tips to Save Your Back When Gardening
Summer if finally here! With that in mind, we know all too well that if gardening is your passion – then you’ve had to do a lot of work in a short period of time. Many of us have anxiously been waiting to get our gardens going, vegetables planted, and yards meticulously tended to. But this also comes with an increased risk of aches and pains as a result of using parts of your body that have been hibernating!
Here It Is!
I’ve put together a few tips to hopefully maximize your joy of gardening while minimizing your risk of injuries.
Warm up! You may want to jump right into your gardening, but like with other strenuous activities, you MUST warm up those muscles. Gardening requires preparing your body for new movements as your body may have been fairly sedentary over the winter months. And even if you are an active winter person, the movements required in gardening are not the same.
My advice is to prepare a list of what you plan to tackle that day, and take 3 minutes to stretch the parts of your body you will be most likely to use, including taking special interest in your posture.
Drink water. Once you get started you may lose track of time. It’s not uncommon for people to come in and explain that they were so determined to get the garden done, that they just plowed through it without any breaks, food, or water. Consider paying extra attention to remaining hydrated, particularly when you are sweating under the sun.
Listen to your body. It’s so easy to get carried away once you have your hands in the dirt. Gardening for some is even considered a form of meditation and grounding. But pay attention to how your body is feeling. The first sight of aches or pain should be attended to immediately by a break, a stretch, and a change in positions.
Be mindful of heavy items. If you are an avid gardener, you already know how deceiving some things can be – like bags of soil or mulch. It may seem like a faster alternative to just carry it all yourself, but the use of a wheelbarrow or something with wheels can make moving heavy items less likely to cause an injury. If you must carry heavy items, ensure they are divided into lighter loads and that you are being mindful to use proper form when lifting.
Move around. Don’t just get stuck on fully completing one task at a time. This can cause extended periods of time in the same position leaving you open to soreness and possible injuries. Instead, vary your tasks and move around so you can stay limber and prevent muscles from seizing or cramping.
Don’t forget to breathe. Sounds silly I know, but the truth is we can easily become tense while doing strenuous work, and this means shallower breaths as well. In order to be oxygenating our bodies, we must be mindful of taking slow deep breaths, while releasing the tension from our shoulders and backs. Not only will you feel more refreshed getting more oxygen circulating, but you will feel calmer by releasing tension.
It’s no secret that gardening is a lot of work. This time of year comes with an urgency to get everything ready all at once. The beautiful end results fuel this urgency, and we just want you to get your results, without injuring yourself in the process. No one wants to spend their short summer nursing a gardening injury!
Consult with myself to discuss the safest way to get your results and remain injury free at the same time.