Forward Head Posture, Anterior Head Carriage or Text Neck, is a repetitive stress injury or an overuse syndrome resulting from your head hanging forward and staring down at your cell phone, tablet, or other mobile devices for a prolonged period of time. Holding a mobile device in this position creates excessive amounts of tension in the deep muscles of the neck and shoulders causing neck pain and headaches.
What causes text neck?
The spine in your neck has a slight inward curve that looks like a C. The “C” shaped lordotic curvature supports the head, allows for optimal nerve function, absorbs shock and distributes the weight of the head evenly throughout the body. Your head weighs approximately 5 kilograms. When it moves forward and down away from its neutral position, the weight of the head on the cervical spine increases dramatically. This causes the neck to support more weight causing the cervical spine to be strained.
Tilting your head at a 15 degree angle increases the weight to 12 kilograms. At 30 degrees it increases impact on the neck by 18 kilograms, at 45 degrees it increases to 22 kilograms and at 60 degrees, an astounding 27 kilograms is exerted on the cervical spine. Basically, the more you crane your head, the more weight your neck has to carry. This is the burden that comes with staring at your mobile device – the way millions of people do for hours every day.
Signs and Symptoms Associated with Text Neck
People with Text Neck may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
• Stiff neck – you may experience soreness and difficulty moving your neck, especially when trying to turn your head to the side.
• Pain – pain in the neck, shoulder and/or upper back is common in people with Text Neck. It can be localized to one particular spot or it may radiate to a broad region. The pain can be intense, stabbing, a dull ache or soreness that covers a certain area.
• Headache – muscle spasms of the trapezius and suboccipital muscles can lead to tension-type headaches.
In addition to these common symptoms, people with Text Neck can also have:
• Increased curvature in the thoracic spine
• Muscle weakness
• Spinal degeneration
• Disc compression
• Early onset arthritis
• Decreased lung capacity
Reducing Your Risk of Getting Text Neck
Prevention is key when it comes to forward head posture. Here are a few tips to help prevent the development and advancement of Text Neck.
1. Hold your device at eye level, resting your elbows on the arms of the chair. This prevents you from bending your neck forward or looking down to view the device.
2. Take frequent breaks from your mobile device throughout the day.
3. Do some neck stretching exercises. Slowly move your head up and down, then left to right. Repeat multiple times a day. Extending while rotating your neck is a very useful stretch for the deepest muscles in your neck which will assist you in keeping the normal cervical curve.
4. A series of spinal and neuromuscular treatments over a period of time. Structural change of a reversed cervical curve that has developed through constant anterior head carriage or text neck is possible in most instances. The longer it is left, however, the harder it is to address.
If you start to feel the effects of forward head posture, it is important that you identify the effects of Text Neck and take action. Gentle Chiropractic care like that offered by Dr Adam Rocchi (chiropractor) at Spine Scan can help restore function and manage chronic pain from Text Neck through a combination of two systems, Spine Scan and Trigenics Treatment. Chiropractic care like that offered at Spine Scan Chiropractic is recommended; Adam will perform an in-depth evaluation with his system. This combine will determine a treatment plan that is specifically for you. The treatment plan can involve computerised impulses using an instrument with no rotation or cracking. Manual adjustments are completed using a Thompson table, where he will manipulate your joints, using a controlled and sudden light force to hopefully improve quality and range of motion.
The Trigenics Neurological treatment system to treat back ligament sprains. Trigenics provides benefits that include immediate pain relief on most occasions as well as improvement in strength and flexibility of core muscles that are neurologically challenged.
Speak to the team at Spine Scan Chiropractic on 08 6150 8785 today.