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The Text Neck Institute
Cell phones, once considered a luxury item, are now a mainstay of modern life. most parents see them as a crucial part of keeping kids safe as they can contact or be contacted day or night. While this solves some problems, it raises others.
For today's teen, using their phone to send text messages is a way of life. Because text messages are seen as less intrusive than phone calls, many teens would rather text than talk. They rely on it as instant communication when talking is taboo and email too slow. In short texting is very popular.
Consider these recently posted facts by Christina Warren on the Mashable Blog,
"75% of teens have cellphones, up from 45% back in 2004.
Thirty-three percent of teens send more than 100 texts per day.
Teenage boys send an average of 30 text messages per day and girls send an average of 80."
Because so many teens are texting, it is becoming common for them to experience joint problems at young ages. Warn your child about the dangers of continuous texting. Let them know that if they have pain or swelling in their joints, it is serious. In addition to obvious problems with hands and wrists, Chiropractors are noticing serious spinal changes as well. The forward head position that most people assume as they use electronic devices puts considerable pressure on their spine and over time can change the curvature of their neck. Did you know that each inch of forward head posture can increase the weight of your head on your spine by an additional 10 pounds? That means if your teen looks down as he texts, it adds 20 to 30 pounds of pressure on his neck. Over time, this added pressure can flatten or reverse the normal C curve in his neck leading to decreased immune function, neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain or numbness and tingling in his arms. even worse, this deformity in the spine pulls the rest of the spine out of alignment affecting every system in the body. Clearly we need to warn our teens about what they are doing to themselves.
No one expects teens to give up their phones but parents should ask them to think about how much they are using them and consider cutting back. They should also think about their posture and how it might be affecting them over time. our world has changed and we have to learn how to be safe as we adapt to it.
This article refers to both computers and e-readers as being two of the causes of "forward head posture." What is the difference between these two and just reading a book? I read all the time and I think the position of holding a book, holding a laptop and holding an e-reader seems the same to me. I would love your comments.
It's not just computer work. It could also be reading, driving, or many other daily activities. It's the action that forces poor posture that is the problem. The best thing to do is find a position where you are not straining your neck and back. Also, doing spinal and back muscle exercises along with seeing a corrective care chiropractor will aid the body in good posture.
If you have developed asthma from this type of condition and once you get your arc of life back to normal, how long in time have you seen patients take in order to recover from the asthmatic condition and return to normal lung functions ?
I usually see improvements within 3 months, but not always. It can take time for the body to adjust.
Dr. Axe- GREAT article!! I would like to address the post from Kitty Pentecost. I find that the biggest difference between reading books and e-readers is the weight of the objects and the amount of TIME spent using them. E-readers are lighter and more portable than most books; therefore our time spent in a forward head posture is increased. With the advancements in mobile technology the mobile phone, e-reader, and portable gaming units have become a direct extension of the human experience and is causing us to spend an inordinate amount of time in this compromised position. This amount of time will result in early onset of arthritis, degeneration and pain. Kitty must follow your suggestions but I would like to direct you to a website, www.neurotilt.com. This site will show you an APP for the Android based phone while is the first of its kind, it is designed to re-educate the user to hold the phone with proper posture. Once the habit is established to hold the phone with proper posture, holding an e-reader with correct posture will become second nature. Keep up the great work!
Respectfully, Dr. Dean Fishman, The Text Neck Institute
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