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Are You or Your Kid Suffering from Text Neck?

Are You or Your Kid Suffering from Text Neck?
March 11
10:29 2019

When I was in college back in the 1970’s, I had to take a computer programming course for part of my general studies requirement for my degree. At the time, there were no home computers and many computers were programmed via punch cards. The course was in Fortran IV and we learned how to write short and basic programs. By the time the course ended, I was convinced that if I needed a computer program that I could find someone to write it for me.

Years later, home computers came on the scene and I resisted, saying I would never have a computer in my house. That didn’t last long and I finally broke down and bought a computer. It used 5-inch floppy disks to operate. My wife’s nephew installed a hard drive that held an extra 20 MB of information. I remember him telling me that I would probably never fill it.

In 1996, I was hired to be the assistant of the company founder and president and the bulk of my work was done on computer. The company bought me a laptop so that I could also work from home, since I was on call 24/7.

Ever since 1996, I have had a laptop computer and would find it difficult or awkward to not have one. I bought a tablet several years ago, but the only thing I use it for is for church as the combination of arthritis and carpel tunnel in my wrist makes it difficult to hold a heavy Bible for an hour. I also have a smart phone, but I really only use it for phone calls and texting. The reason for that is that I am now semi-disabled and work from home on my laptop computer.

The bottom line is that I probably spend at least 10-12 hours a day in front of my laptop computer and like most people, my head is tilted downward as the screen is below eye level. My neck gets stiff and sore, but I generally attribute it to the fact that I have 5 of my 7 neck vertebral discs damaged from an auto accident.

However, I’m learning that the stiffness and soreness in neck while working on the computer, could be due to a condition doctors are describing as text neck. Check out this report:

“Texting on your phone or typing on the computer — it can all be a pain in the neck — literally.”

“It’s a real ailment called “text neck.” Doctors say the reason is that the average person spends more than eight hours a day on some type of electronic device…”

“‘Neck pain and back pain are by far our biggest draws, I think, just because usually people associate that with chiropractic,’ said chiropractor Jennifer Slechter…”

“‘It’s usually the wear and tear of sitting at computers for long periods of time. Our lives are dominated by technology, so even if you’re not sitting in front of your computer for work, you’re still on a tablet or computer at home or your phone and this, like, constant down, really does start to wear on the body,’ Slechter added.”

Doctors are not only seeing an increase in text neck cases among adult patients, but also younger patients are well:

“It’s not just adults experiencing this. It’s kids, too.”

“‘From an incredible early age, we are hooked into technology,’ said Slechter.

“A report issued by Common Sense Media found that 50 percent of teens feel addicted to mobile devices.”

“‘I have middle-schoolers with neck pain and headache because they’re at school all day and they’re sitting with bad posture. Then they’re home doing homework, so they’re either looking at books or on a lot of tablets or computers at this point,’ added Slechter.”

So, if you or others in your family are suffering from text neck, what can you do to help alleviate it?

First and foremost is to limit time on all electronic devices. Take frequent breaks. Regularly exercise and stretch your neck by moving it all directions. What many people don’t realize is that muscles have memory and if they are stretched out of place for long periods of time, when the muscle is put back in its proper position, the memory will cause it to try to go back to the wrong position.

It’s also recommended to use ice or heat on the sore neck area, but limit it to no more than 20 minutes at a time.

I have to remember to look up and move my head/neck every 15-20 minutes. If you are stuck at a computer at work all day and you can’t get up and stretch that often, you need to at least look up and to the sides as often as possible.

Additionally, good posture is also an important factor in reducing text neck. The straighter you sit up, the better it is on your spine and the muscles that support the spine.

If you, like me, believe that computers, and mobile phones are a pain in the neck, it’s now a medical fact!

 

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HLA Staff

HLA Staff

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