Technology has become such a huge part of our everyday lives and although it has made life more convenient for some, it's been a pain in the neck for others...literally. Years ago when texting took off, there were complaints from people about their thumbs hurting. Today, there are many more tech devices on the market and even more complaints.
"I see it daily. Unfortunately, it is a common common thing," said Dr. Chris Raymond, owner of Raymond Chiropractic in Austintown.
That thing, Chiropractor Dr. Chris Raymond is talking about is "text neck" or what medical professionals have long referred to as forward head posture. It occurs when the head is positioned forward of the shoulders. While it is not a new diagnosis, it is becoming problem as mobile devices become more popular.
"As we are on these devices, our head is going to fall foward and you have a 12 pound head that if it falls 1 inch forward, now you are putting about 24 pounds of pressure on the back of the neck. So, you are seeing increased pressure on ligaments, on the muscles. You are seeing disc herniations, neck strains, shoulder pain, radiating arm pain. All this comes about because we fall off our center of gravity," said Dr. Raymond.
Text neck is not just a texting problem. It's an issue for anyone whose neck and head are stretched forward for long periods of time. Dr. Raymond says he's seeing younger and younger patients in his office complaining of the symptoms.
"It is a long term problem. It is nothing that is going to be severe right off the get go, but it is an accumulative effect of years and years of doing this and over time thing get worse," said Dr. Raymond.
There are some steps Dr. Raymond says you can take to prevent further breakdown of the body and alleviate pain such as keeping your feet on the floor, your chest and shoulders back and your head looking straight ahead. He suggests taking breaks from your gadgets every 20 minutes and when you are looking down at them tuck your chin to your chest. Dr. Raymond says text neck doesn't just cause neck, shoulder and back pain. It can affect your ability to breath. Sitting hunched over can reduce lung capacity by as much as 30%, which could lead to vascular disease and gastrointestinal problems.