In the last few years, more and more young people have come in for chiropractic care with symptoms of neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, or numbness and tingling in their arms. This condition has been named “text neck”. A study from 2004 confirmed that texting is addictive, as addictive as cigarette smoking. People age 13-27 are the largest group of texters, so more medical and chiropractic conditions will ensue in the next decade. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey discovered that children age 8-18 spend over 7.5 hours per day using some sort of mobile media… so more will be coming to the doctor with forward head posture (FHP) in the future. This problem is getting worse every year because children are getting cell phones at younger ages.
A patient with FHP has rolled shoulders, concave chest, and pelvic tuck. Long term FHP leads to muscle strain, disc herniations, and pinched nerves. For every inch forward, the weight of the head on the spine increases by 10 pounds and can stretch the spinal cord 5-7cm. FHP also adds up to 30 pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine, pulling the entire spine out of alignment. The patient can also lose up to 30% of their lung capacity and good bowel function.
With advancing technology and people’s desire to stay connected, FHP will become more prevalent than ever. Poor posture affects the body’s ability to function, so the patient must be educated on how the brain and spine control functions in the rest of the body. This process is long and tedious – and not always effective. They must see the negative effects of repeated stress and be aware of how many hours they and their children are using mobile devices, what is causing their condition, and how it will negatively affect their body in the future.
Fishman DC, Dean L. “Your Body is Sending You a Message.” The Text Neck Institute, 2009. Web. 7 Apr 2015.