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Text Neck: Modern Technology Updates Old Spine Issues

If you suffer from back pain, you’re in good company! Four out of five people will experience back pain during their lifetime. However, as smart phones become increasingly common, we need to reflect on how we use them and what health problems we may accidentally be causing ourselves. After all, smart phones may get an update every year, but our bodies don’t!
Texting is the most common cellphone activity. In fact, over 80% of American adults text. Millennials, on average, text 67 messages per day and almost 70% of employees believe their organization should use texts for their internal communications.
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Whether you admit it or not, most of us are guilty of poor cellphone posture. “Text Neck” refers to self-inflicted damage caused by looking down at a cell phone, tablet, or other electronic device for prolonged periods of time. Leaning your head at a 60-degree angle puts 60 pounds of force on your cervical spine. That’s the same as carrying an 8-year old around your neck several hours a day!

While we’ve always looked down to read, texting is one more burden for your spine to bear on top of all the other activities in your day. Plus, many people look down at their phone all throughout the day for work and fun, whereas reading a book is a briefer, more relaxing activity.
Symptoms of Text Neck include, but are not limited to:

  1. Neck pain
  2. Upper back pain
    • Chronic, nagging pain
    • Sharp, severe muscle spasms
  3. Shoulder pain or tightness
  4. Pinched cervical nerve
    • Numbness
    • “Pins and needles”
    • Hand or foot that frequently “falls asleep”
    • Radiating pain

Fortunately, since poor posture caused these pains to develop, good posture can frequently correct them! Bettering your posture and taking ergonomics into consideration can prevent or correct Text Neck.

The most important rule to keep in mind is always hold your cellphone and other devices at eye-level. When you need to look down, do so with your eyes, not your neck. Also, remember to take frequent breaks. A combination of good posture and regular breaks can prevent cervical neck pain and back pain forming as a result of text neck.

Fixing your posture can relieve or prevent many back and neck pains. If the problem has progressed too far or you suspect you’re suffering from a more serious condition, please speak with a medical professional about what treatment options are available to you. When your back isn’t healthy, you aren’t healthy!
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When searching for a spinal doctor, it is important to consider the doctor’s locations, education, certifications and specialties. The South Texas Spinal Clinic has thirteen board-certified spinal surgeons and a board-certified medicine rehabilitation doctor available. If you need a doctor in San Antonio, please review our doctors and surgeons and then call (210) 614-6432 to make an appointment!

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