Technology and Neck Pain

Each day patients present to our office attached to their smart phones.  Texting in the waiting area, asking to take a break to text during their consultation, or even texting mid treatment.  The dependency has become so strong, it would be hard to talk someone out of the frequency of usage however the looking down constantly needs to be modified.  This train from technology has become cited in many articles and news reports, dubbing the condition “Text Neck”.

Once you wake up, you look down at your phone to turn off the alarm, then check your text messages, then possibly email or facebook feed and so forth.  This can happen throughout the day very frequently.  According to a Tecmark study, the average person looks at a smartphone 221 times a day for a total of 3-4 hours.  This is concerning to doctors, particularly Chiropractors as the average person will spend almost 1,200 hours , around 50 days, staring down at a screen per year.

This amount of repetitive motion looking down must create strain to the neck.  A study in 2011 in Applied Ergonomics showed a relationship between cell phone use and neck pain.  Another study in 2012 focused on the impact this usage would have on posture.  This constant hunching will not just cause pain but increase likelihood of joint decay over time.  The solutions to “text neck” should include frequent change in positioning of the neck, elevating the hands and phone when possible, and using auto text and voice dictation options.  Ask your Chiropractor to assess the curve in your neck to see if the normal structure of the spine has begun to change.