Dr. Bell's Blog

Are You Getting Text Neck?

We are on our cell phones now more than ever, whether it be texting, the internet, facebook, or a variety of other things.  I read recently the average 18-24 year old sends and receives more than 4,000 texts per month.  Wow!  As a result, we are putting our neck under constant strain from the traditional position most use there phone in.  Just how much strain?  Check out these figures.  The average adult head weighs in at approximately 12 lbs.  When the head/neck are in just 15 degrees of forward flexion, the weight equivalent on your neck increases to 27 lb.  Forward positioning of 30 degrees causes it to weigh 40 lbs, and 60 degrees will make it weigh 60 lbs.  That is nearly 3x the normal stress load placed on your neck.  What position does the average person place their head at while texting?  You guessed it, 60 degrees.

This has led to what I have seen to be a scary trend in the average teenagers spine.  Normally your neck will be curved at 43 degrees.  More often than not, from a number of years of repetitive posture stress, I am seeing a complete loss of normal curvature in an adolescents neck.  If left uncorrected, not only can it lead to frequent neck/upper back pain and headaches, but can ultimately lead to permanent damage developing at a VERY early age.  

What can be done?  First you need to get your child checked by a chiropractor immediately to see what, if any problems, have occurred.  Second, begin having them develop a new habit of using their phone directly in front of them which will allow their head to remain in a neutral position.  This is a crucial change that will help stop any further problems and damage from developing.