What is Text Neck and What to do About it?

‘Text neck’ is a repetitive stress injury to the neck caused by looking down at a smartphone, tablet or computer for an extended period of time. Virtually unheard-of a few years ago, text neck can lead to early degeneration, muscle imbalances, spasms, facet osteoarthrosis, loss of the natural curve in the cervical spine and neurological symptoms such as pain radiating into the arms or hands.

The injury is becoming more common as younger generations spend more time hunched over electronic devices. Whereas we typically see this pain increase with age, muscular pain in the neck, shoulders and lower back is occurring even in teens and adolescents.

Text neck joins the list of repetitive strain injuries caused by mobile technology, such as ‘Blackberry thumb’ and ‘iPad hand’, which when left untreated, can hold severe consequences for our health.

How can using a smartphone cause this much damage?

How we look at our devices, literally, is the root of our text neck epidemic. On average, the human head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds, but as we angle them down to look at our phones, the weight on our neck increases considerably.

In dropping our heads forward, the natural curvatures of our necks are changed. This misalignment strains our muscles over time, damaging the structures of our necks. Smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours a day with their heads and necks in this position, resulting in thousands of hours a year of excess stress to our spines.

The damage caused by text neck expands beyond muscle pain, however, as general slumping restricts our lungs’ ability to expand. This impairs our lung capacity, which means we inhale less oxygen, so our hearts need to pump harder.

How can a chiropractor help with text neck?

If you are suffering from text neck and do not seek treatment, your muscle pain will increase, you will start to develop a hunched appearance as your shoulders begin rounding forward, your posture will get worse and your muscles will become weaker.

Chiropractors are the most qualified practitioners to stop text neck in its tracks. As text neck is caused by misalignment in the neck, a chiropractor skilled in vertebrae and spinal alignment would be highly beneficial.

Here at Canary Wharf Chiropractic, we will show you how far your text neck has progressed and identify the health problems it may be causing you. With a treatment plan in place to correct these problems and reverse text neck, your pain will shortly decrease.

If your neck and back remain regularly aligned by chiropractic care, a lot of the problems associated with neck pain will never present themselves.

Can Spinal manipulation for Low Back Pain be More Effective than Traditional Treatments?

Back pain is a highly common health complaint that affects most people at some point in their lives. Low back pain is the area most often complained about. From prescription medication and self-care practices to surgery, health professionals recommend a wide array of treatments for low back pain, yet the benefits of spinal manipulation therapy are too often overlooked.

Spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) is sometimes considered a controversial treatment option for low back pain, primarily because it is chiropractors who generally recommend and administer it. It is a frequent misconception that because chiropractors are not medically trained doctors, they are not worthy of trust when it comes to spinal issues.

However, below, we look at the traditional spinal treatment options for low back pain and consider the benefits of opting instead for spinal manipulation under expert chiropractic care.

Traditional treatments

It is often considered that low back pain can be greatly improved by self-care, meaning practices that people can do to themselves. For example, exercise, applying heat and using a firm mattress are usually some of the first remedies to low back pain suggested by health professionals.

If low back pain persists, pain-relieving medications and massage may be recommended to provide mild-to-moderate relief. If a course of nonsurgical treatments does little to relieve the pain, spinal surgery may be suggested to a patient.

It is ultimately the patient’s decision to have this surgery, and only in extremely rare situations is surgery immediately performed for low back pain.

What surgery means practically, however, is an often-long wait for treatment, a reduction in the patient’s ability to function post-surgery, a potentially invasive surgery with a longer hospital stay, and a lengthy commitment of time to the healing process.

Spinal manipulation

Spinal manipulation is the use of hands or a device by practitioners to apply a controlled force to a joint of the spine, with the aim of relieving pain and improving physical function.

Historically, spinal manipulation therapy for acute low back pain has been regarded as the best treatment that can be offered by a chiropractor. When performed by a trained and licensed practitioner, spinal manipulation is safe and holds few side effects except feelings of tiredness and temporary soreness.

Whereas pain-relieving medication may become ineffective as your body becomes accustomed to it – thus risking addiction to painkillers – spinal manipulation is a targeted, bespoke treatment that provides long-lasting relief from low back pain.

Spinal surgery can be invasive, with long waits for treatment and even longer recovery times, but spinal manipulation can be performed in short, comfortable sessions with fewer risks of side effects.

Chiropractic pros and cons

Four out of five people will not visit a chiropractor, even when they have back pain. A lot of sufferers remain ignorant of how chiropractic care can help, often because of widespread misconceptions about chiropractors. Here, we weigh up the chiropractic pros and cons of care:

How can a chiropractor help me? Chiropractic Pros

Muscular pain is the main reason people visit a chiropractor looking to relieve the pain in their necks, shoulders, backs and legs. This pain may have stemmed from a particular incident, such as a sporting injury, or may have just worsened with age. After an initial assessment, chiropractors can design a bespoke course of treatment for this pain, usually consisting of spinal adjustments, manipulation and even massage.

Chiropractic care is not a quick fix. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs are often used to treat spinal pain, but they in no way identify the root of the problem. A chiropractor can tell you why you are experiencing pain and analyse your nervous system specifically. This is highly individualised and tailored treatment, and helps to create lasting pain relief. While medication can wear off and become less effective as your body becomes accustomed to the drug, chiropractic care can greatly assist your efforts to remain pain-free in the longer term.

We often underestimate the necessity of good posture. As our world advances and becomes more technological, we are seeing a rise in the amount of time people spend hunched over electronic devices, and our workplaces are becoming more office and desk-based. Our spinal health is deteriorating rapidly. The pressure on our necks, the position of our heads, and the unnecessary strain on the upper spine all exemplify that chiropractic care is required more now than ever before.

Why don’t we all visit a chiropractor? ‘Cons’ of chiropractic care

A common misconception about chiropractors is that because they are not medically trained doctors, they are not to be trusted. It is correct that chiropractors cannot officially diagnose medical conditions, but they certainly know your spine inside and out. They have years of training and experience and are the best judge of your spinal care. GPs themselves often recommend chiropractic care as an alternative to traditional forms of medicine.

The pain! If you have never visited a chiropractor before, it is easy to see why you may associate this kind of treatment with pain. You may have heard extreme stories from others, or seen exaggerated examples of chiropractic care on television. It is a myth that successful chiropractic treatment needs to hurt. While certain treatments can be slightly uncomfortable, chiropractic care is designed to eliminate pain from your life in general, so temporary discomfort is far preferable to a lifetime of back, neck and shoulder pain.