Text Neck Syndrome: How Your Chiropractor Can Help
Your neck pain and headaches could be symptoms of text neck, a condition that’s become increasingly common in today’s tech-obsessed world. Easing your pain can be as simple as visiting the chiropractor and changing the way you hold your devices.
Do You Have Text Neck?
Accidents due to distracted walking or driving aren’t the only dangers of texting. Bending your head while you look at your phone stresses the vertebrae and tissues in your neck and may cause chronic pain. Although the condition is called “text” neck, it can occur if you use any type of digital device or participate in activities that require keeping your head bent for long periods.
Your neck is designed to support the weight of your head in an upright position. Bending your head at a 45- to 60-degree angle puts 50 to 60 pounds of stress on the neck, rather than the usual 10 pounds, according to SPINE-Health.
Text next can affect anyone and may cause symptoms after just a few hours. If you keep your head bent while you text or work, you may experience these symptoms:
Muscle Stiffness and Spasms in Your Neck, Shoulder and Back Muscles
Pain Between the Shoulder Blades or in the Back, Jaw, Arm or Hand
Numbness and Tingling in Your Arm and Hand
Posture Changes and Balance Problems
Pain isn’t the only problem you may notice if you have text neck. Stress and strain could damage the discs that cushion the bony vertebrae in your neck and back. These rubbery discs absorb shock and help you move and change position easily. If one or more spinal discs bulge or rupture, your pain may increase.
Bulging or ruptured discs may pinch the nerves that travel from your neck to your arm and hand. Symptoms of a pinched include pain that travels from your neck to your arm and hand, tingling in your hand and fingers, and weak shoulder, hand, and arm muscles.
A pinched nerve may also occur due to a subluxation. Subluxations happen when one or more vertebrae move out of their normal position due to increased strain on your neck. In addition to causing spinal misalignments, subluxations tighten tissues around the nerves, which can also cause pain.
If you ignore your text neck symptoms and don’t change your habits, you may develop arthritis or bone spurs in your neck. Unfortunately, these conditions will only worsen your pain. Eventually, your upper back may become hunched due to permanent changes to your spine.
How Can My Chiropractor Relieve My Symptoms?
Turning to your chiropractor is a smart decision if you think you may have text neck. These healthcare practitioners specialize in treating conditions that affect the spine, joints, and soft tissues. Your chiropractor offers several treatments that relieve text neck symptoms, including:
Massage. Massage loosens tight muscles and tissues in the neck, shoulders and upper back, easing pain. Natural pain relievers released during a massage enhance the effect and help you feel relaxed.
Spinal Manipulation. Your chiropractor may perform spinal manipulation therapy if you have subluxations. Although people often refer to this treatment as “cracking” the neck, there’s no cracking involved. Using quick movements, your chiropractor repositions misaligned vertebrae. Once everything’s positioned correctly, tight muscles and tissues loosen and flexibility and range of motion improve. Inflammation, a key component in pain, also decreases after spinal manipulation.
Exercises. The muscles in your neck, shoulders, and upper back help you keep your head upright. Text neck weakens those muscles, making it difficult to maintain proper posture. During your visit, your chiropractor will show you a few exercises that will strengthen your muscles and prevent text neck symptoms from recurring.
What Can I Do to Prevent New Symptoms?
Keep these tips in mind when you use your digital devices:
Raise Your Phone. Hold your phone at eye level rather than in your lap or on a table or desk. A cellphone holder makes it easier to keep your phone at eye level.
Take Frequent Breaks. Get up and stretch for a minute or two after you’ve been using your phone or device for a half-hour.
Buy a New Chair. New York-Presbyterian recommends using an office chair that reclines 25 to 30 degrees. This position reduces stress on the neck and stops slouching.
Don’t let text neck cause permanent changes to your spine. Contact our office to schedule an appointment with the chiropractor.
SPINE-Health: How Does Text Neck Cause Pain?, 10/26/2018
New York-Presbyterian: How to Prevent ‘Tech Neck”
The Alabama State Chiropractic Association: Tech Neck/Text Neck
WebMD: What to Know About “Text Neck,”10/12/2022
How Chiropractic Care Improves Workplace Ergonomics
Aches and pains don’t have to be an unwelcome consequence of a day at work. Chiropractic care helps you protect your muscles, joints, and tissues and avoid pain and stiffness due to poor ergonomics.
What Is Ergonomics?
The term “ergonomics” refers to designs, products, and strategies that reduce strain and injuries in the workplace. If you’ve ever come home from a long day at work with a headache or achy back, chances are the furniture or devices you use aren’t ergonomically designed.
Chairs that don’t offer lumbar support can lead to back pain, while a desk that’s too low can cause you to hunch your shoulders while you work, triggering neck, shoulder, and back pain. Hand or wrist pain could become a problem if you don’t have enough support for your wrists when you bang out a report on your laptop or desktop computer.
With more employees than ever working at home, it’s not surprising that so many people suffer from ergonomic issues. Do you work from your couch or the kitchen table? Your furniture wasn’t intended to support your body while you work and could be the reason that you feel achy and exhausted at the end of the day.
What Can Be Done to Improve Ergonomics?
During your visit to the chiropractic office, your chiropractor may ask a few questions about your work habits and furniture and make a few suggestions that will improve your workplace ergonomics. Depending on your symptoms, recommendations may include:
Changing Your Desk. Are your forearms parallel to your desk when you write or type? If not, you may be at risk for developing back or neck pain or carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when a nerve that passes through the hand and arm becomes compressed. If you can’t swap out your desk, raising your chair and using a footrest will help keep your arms level.
Choosing the Right Chair. Chairs are a common a source of back, hip, and leg pain, according to Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Adjust the height of your chair if your feet aren’t flat against the floor. Your chair should also support your back and offer ample cushioning and armrests.
Taking a Look at Tech. Neck pain can be a problem if your monitor is higher than eye level. Glare from screens can cause headaches and migraines, in addition to neck and shoulder pain. Place your monitor away from light sources and using a monitor hood or shade to decrease glare.
Using Helpful Devices. Anti-fatigue foot mats reduce pain and fatigue in your legs and spine. Wrist supports keep your wrists properly aligned, while keyboard trays position your keyboard at the optimum height.
Making adjustments to your furniture and devices, while extremely helpful, may not completely eliminate your aches and pains. Luckily, your chiropractor can help you by:
Realigning Your Spine. Poor posture and strain may move the bony vertebrae in your back out of alignment. Misalignments, or subluxations, cause back and neck pain and fatigue. Your chiropractor realigns the vertebrae with spinal manipulation therapy. Quick, hands-on movements improve the position of the vertebrae, easing your symptoms. When your spine is correctly aligned, you’re less likely to experience strains, sprains, and other injuries.
Loosening Tight Tissues. Your muscles and tissues become painfully tight when you maintain awkward positions for too long. Unfortunately, tight tissues may pull your vertebrae out of alignment and cause subluxations. Soft tissue manipulation and mobilization therapies loosen tight muscles, tendons, and ligaments, easing pain, improving flexibility, and reducing your risk for subluxations.
Improving Posture. It’s difficult to maintain good posture when your vertebrae are misaligned and your tissues are tight. Unfortunately, poor posture only makes joint and tissue pain worse. Chiropractic care helps you improve your posture and keep your body properly balanced. Your chiropractor can also offer posture suggestions and recommend exercises that strengthen the core muscles essential for good posture.
Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome doesn’t just affect office workers. They can also be a problem if you drive a truck, use vibrating tools, or do work that requires repetitive hand motions. Your chiropractor treats carpal tunnel syndrome by using manipulation and mobilization therapies to improve the alignment of ligaments, tendons, and bones in your wrist. Other helpful therapies include massage and ultrasound.
Is your job literally a pain in the neck? Give us a call to schedule an appointment with the chiropractor.
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine: Workplace Ergonomics and Safety: Tips, Equipment, and Examples, 6/9/2023
American Chiropractic Association: Maintaining Good Posture
MedlinePlus: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Chiropractic Care for Whiplash: Could It Help Your Neck Pain?
Neck pain and stiffness after a motor vehicle accident or fall could be signs of whiplash, an injury that affects the soft tissues in the neck. Without prompt treatment, symptoms could last weeks, months, or even years. Fortunately, your chiropractor offers several treatments designed to improve whiplash pain.
What Causes Whiplash?
Whiplash happens during a motor vehicle accident when your head jerks back and forth. Any act that causes your head to “whip” back and forth violently can result in whiplash. You could develop whiplash if you ride a roller coaster, fall when skiing, or if you are tackled or fall when playing sports.
As your head moves back and forth, several things happen to your neck. First, muscles in your neck become strained as they’re pushed past their limits. The sudden movements may also change the alignment of the vertebrae in your neck and back, in addition to straining ligaments that connect bones together and tendons that attach muscles to bones.
Whiplash is a common injury. According to an analysis of crash and hospital data in Accident Analysis and Prevention in 2020, more than 1.2 million people experience whiplash every year.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
Whiplash symptoms don’t always start immediately, but may start hours or days after your injury. Symptoms may include:
Shoulder and Upper Back Pain
Reduced Range of Motion in Your Neck
Numbness or Tingling That Travels to the Shoulder, Arm or Hand
Ringing in the Ears
Chiropractic Treatments Ease Whiplash Symptoms
Your chiropractor offers natural, drug-free methods that soothe sore tissues and realign the vertebrae in your neck. Therapies that might be included in your whiplash treatment plan include:
Soft Tissue Mobilization. Your muscles tighten in an attempt to protect your joints, vertebrae, ligaments, and tendons when an injury happens. Unfortunately, the muscles don’t always relax on their own, which can lead to pain and stiffness. During soft tissue mobilization, your chiropractor uses his or her hands to gently stretch and loosen the muscles and soft tissues. As the treatment progresses, your doctor varies the pressure and the length of the strokes depending on the resistance encountered. In addition to relieving muscle tension and improving range of motion, soft tissue mobilization reduces muscle spasms and breaks up scar tissue. Although scar tissue is essential for injury repair, it may cause or worsen pain and stiffness.
Spinal Manipulation. Spinal manipulation repositions misaligned vertebrae in your neck and back. In addition to causing neck pain, subluxations pull on muscles and soft tissues, increasing muscle tension and soreness. Correcting the misalignment loosens soft tissues and decreases painful pressure on nerves. Your chiropractor uses his or her hands or an activator to quickly realign the vertebrae during spinal manipulation. The treatment decreases pain, improves range of motion, and may reduce the production of proteins involved in inflammation.
Massage. Massage may also be part of your treatment plan. The therapy improves circulation to your neck and decreases pain by relaxing tight tissues. As your chiropractor massages painful tissues, your body increases its production of endorphins, serotonin, and oxytocin.
Other Therapies. Ultrasound therapy may be used to decrease inflammation and ease pain and stiffness. The Graston Technique, a type of instrument-assisted therapy, breaks apart scar tissue and loosens tight muscles and soft tissues. If your pain is due to a bulging spinal disc, your chiropractor may use flexion-distraction to reduce pressure on your nerves.
Are you struggling with whiplash pain? Chiropractic care could help you get back to normal. Call our office to schedule your appointment.
SpineUniverse: Best Practice Guidelines for Chiropractic Care of Neck Pain and Whiplash Disorders, 2/6/20
SPINE-Health: Whiplash Symptoms and Associated Disorders, 4/18/2017
Science Direct: Accident Analysis & Prevention: Estimating the Number of Crash-Related Cervical Spine Injuries in the United States; an Analysis and Comparison of National Crash and Hospital Date, 7/2020
Mayo Clinic: Whiplash, 2/11/2022