Nerve input into your brain is created when you move around throughout the day. This input is so important to brain health that problems with proprioception have been linked to autism spectrum disorders.
Our Cumming Chiropractors know that a deficiency of healthy nerve input to your brain can occur a number of ways. The most common being c-section births involving a lot of pulling on the infants neck, or severe repeated falls that change the spines shape throughout childhood.
A new issue that is arising with alarming frequency is what we call “text neck.” The largest amount of proprioception in our body comes from the joints in your neck, called facet joints. When you have a healthy cervical arc in your neck you help ensure proper proprioception from your spine up into your brain. When you lose the arc in your neck due to falls, accidents, or by sitting with your head down in your phone for hours on end each day, your brain pays a price.
Of course, this posture of bending your neck to look down does not occur only when texting. For years, we've all looked down to read. The problem with texting is that it adds one more activity that causes us to look down—and people tend to do it for much longer periods. It is especially concerning because young, growing children could possibly cause permanent damage to their cervical spines that could lead to lifelong neck pain and the essential proprioception up to the brain.
Text neck most commonly causes neck pain and soreness. In addition, looking down at your cell phone too much each day can lead to:
- Upper back pain ranging from a chronic, nagging pain to sharp, severe upper back muscle spasms.
- Shoulder pain and tightness, possibly resulting in painful shoulder muscle spasm.
- If a cervical nerve becomes pinched, pain and possibly neurological symptoms can radiate down your arm and into your hand.
Chiropractic also helps to restore the healthy arc that is supposed to be in your neck so that your brain is receiving the proper input throughout your day.
How is text neck treated?
First, prevention is the key. Here are several pieces of advice from our Cumming Chiropractors to prevent the development or advancement of text neck:
- Hold your cell phone at eye level as much as possible. The same holds true for all screens—laptops and tablets should also be positioned so the screen is at eye level and you don't have to bend your head forward or look down to view it.
- Take frequent breaks from your phone and laptop throughout the day. For example, set a timer or alarm that reminds you to get up and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes.
- If you work in an office, make sure your screen is set up so that when you look at it you are looking forward, with your head positioned squarely in line with your shoulders and spine.
Next, correction of the misaligned structure is extremely important.
- A complete examination and consultation to access the strength, integrity and alignment of the spine is the first step for correcting this condition.
- You also need to have strong core muscles—the abdominal and lower back muscles—to support your upper body, including your neck. Your core muscles usually do not get enough exercise during normal daily activities, so you need to do specific exercises to target these muscles.
- Strong and flexible muscles in the neck are necessary to minimize strain on your cervical spine and help support the weight of your head.