South Windsor Neck & Back - September/October 2019

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COLUMN SEPT/OCT 2019

That Phone! Put Down 860.644.2437 WWW.FUNCTIONFORLIFE.COM Relieving the Stress of ‘Text Neck’

A few weeks ago, I was assisting a patient for their regular adjustment when I noticed something strange. Nothing unusual was wrong with the patient, nor did I feel off or sick. But I noticed that I left my phone in my pocket. Whenever I’m adjusting a patient, I try to keep my entire focus on them. This is their time to check in with their health, and they deserve my full attention. When I discovered that my phone was in my pocket, I was in danger of succumbing to a common condition when it comes to technology: the drive to check it. Technology, especially our cellphones, have become extensions of ourselves. Our phones are never more than 10 feet away from us, and when we can’t find them, we go into panic mode. Our phones always have to be near us or in our hands. Likewise, whenever someone sits down, is waiting, or has a moment of free time, they are likely looking down at their cellphone. Putting aside commentary on society’s obsession with screens, the constant downward stare and position of our necks is a serious health problem! Dubbed “text neck,” this strain can evoke pain in your neck, head, and limbs. The pain begins when your head is bent downward for an extended period. Your head weighs anywhere between 8–10 pounds, and as you look down, this weight and gravity can add up to 60 pounds of pressure on your neck! Think of it this way: When you pick up a bowling ball and tuck it into your body, holding it with both hands near your abdomen, it’s not very heavy. You can likely hold it for a long period of time without too much effort. But if you hold the bowling ball straight out in front of you with one hand, there’s a good chance your arm will become weaker with each passing second. It’s the same idea with your neck. It wasn’t designed to sustain the constant pressure of looking down that cellphones create. This limits a patient’s range of motion, can incite frequent and painful headaches, and ultimately puts more

pressure on your ligaments, muscles, joints, and brain. Your neck is the bridge that connects your spine to your brain, and straining it damages that relationship.

Of course, the simple answer is to put your phone down. In addition to giving your neck a break, commonly practicing this is great for your eyes, your brain, falling asleep, and your overall health. But with the ever-growing digital world we live in, having a cellphone is almost necessary — and this is where chiropractic disciplines can help. Start by asking a relative to do a simple test for you. While you stand up straight, have them look at the alignment of your ear to your shoulder. If the ear is just over your shoulder, then your neck integrity is normal. As the ear starts to move forward, that’s where the issues can arise. In chiropractic care, this is where we can gain back that neck integrity. We can strengthen the relationship between your spine and your brain by focusing on regular adjustments and the alignment of your neck. It may take more than one visit, and it can be a continual problem you have to monitor. (I even get regularly adjusted, and text neck is a common thing I watch for!) Cellphones may be ingrained into our lifestyles, but they don’t have to ruin our lives. Chiropractic care’s focus on opening up your body for proper communication is the perfect basis for treating the conditions cellphones create.

But sometimes you should just put the phone down.

(P.S. See Page 2 to learn how text neck could be even worse for your children!) –Dr. Chris Colby

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