Do we have an addiction to mobile phones, tablets and gaming? Does this impact our body? Chiropractors are treating more patients with major problems associated with increased use of mobile phones and tablets. Stemming from neck problems to carpal tunnel issues.
Recently, chiropractors at Essential Chiropractic and nationwide, have noticed more patients complaining of “text neck”. Teens and adults are looking down to text in a slumping position. This prolonged forward neck position leads to forward head posture resulting from excessive strain on the spine from looking in a forward and downward position at any hand held mobile device, phone, video game unit, computer, mp3 player, or e-reader. Not to mention how pinning the phone between the neck and shoulder can really put a strain on you. This forward head posture and prolonged neck position can cause headaches, neck pain, shoulder and arm pain and pins and needles in the hands. According to a recent study of 800 teens between the ages of 12 and 17 conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the University of Michigan’s Department of Communication Studies, teenage girls send or receive an average of 80 text messages a day, and one third of teens who have mobile phones text more than 100 messages daily.
Neck pain isn’t the only issue on the agenda here, other people who are beginning to complain of shoulder, elbow, wrist and thumb pain are also seeking advice from us. After chiropractic treatment, the best advice we can follow is to “start exercising!” Exercising prevents the user from sitting idle and playing with their gaming device therefore preventing ‘text neck’ almost instantaneously.
“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots” Albert Einstein
Possible problems associated with texting and gaming include:
- neck pain
- shoulder pain
- gastronintestinal issues
- loss of lung capacity
- pinched/irritated nerve
- spinal degeneration
At Essential Chiropractic, we advise the following:
- Lift the phone up and text at eye level as opposed leaning over the phone and looking down with your eyes. Gently tuck your chin in, not forward.
- Remember your posture – sit upright, keeping your ears over your shoulders and hold the device below your heart.
- Keep the device 90 degrees perpendicular to your fingers as you press the buttons and use two hands to type.
- Support your forearms on a pillow during extended texting to reduce the strain on your neck and shoulder muscles.
- Remember to take a break to stretch and shake out the hands and stop when it hurts.
- Return only urgent e-mails on the PDA. Respond to other e-mails from your computer.
- Do some stretches. Warm up hands by stretching the wrist backward for 2-3 seconds, then forward for 2-3 seconds. Spread your fingers as wide apart as you can and hold them for 2-3 seconds. Tuck your chin in and make a double chin, hold for 2-3 seconds. Fold your hands together and turn your palms away as you extend your arms forward.
- Monitor the time you (or your child) spend on the phone or PDA and be conscious of the risks involved with excessive use of PDAs or mobile phones