Why Your Digital Devices Could Be To Blame For Your Bad Back
The average American spends 5.7 hours a day on their phone, according to a study conducted by Provision Living. With the rise of new technology and innovative apps, the amount of time people spend staring at their screen is increasing every day. Due to the increased usage of technological devices, people are now being diagnosed with a condition called “text neck.” Although “text neck” is not an official medical diagnosis, it is a term used for repetitive stress or injury due to excessive texting or digital device use.
The repetitive stress or injury that causes text neck comes from the severe neck angle to view your screen and use the touchscreen elements of the devices. While viewing your screen, your neck and head are typically bent further forward than then should be. Often times, people become so immersed in their devices that they forget about their posture. For every inch forward you hold your head, the weight carried down your spine increases by 10 pounds.
Excessive Use Leads to Extended Pain
A huge amount of our everyday lives is dedicated to staring at a screen. We use our digital devices to communicate with family and friends, produce captivating social media posts, consume news and entertainment, or are glued to them just to do our job. Phones are not the only culprit causing your neck or back pain, but also laptop computers, desktop computers, tablets, and virtual reality headsets. People ages 16-24 are most likely to experience back or neck pain while using their phones and nearly half of people ages 25-34 suffer from pain after using their laptop.
Although 56% of people in a study conducted by the British Chiropractic Association experience neck or back pain after using their digital devices, only 27% are willing to limit or stop their excessive use. This addiction we have to our devices is causing misalignment of our spines. Poor posture is to blame for the pain because staying in the bent-forward position for too long can cause herniated disks, pulled muscles, pinched spinal nerves, ligaments and tendons to fray from overuse, and the repetitive stress injuries that lead to text neck.
Symptoms of Text Neck
Symptoms of text neck will vary case by case. For example, someone who uses both hands or no hands while using their device will have pain evenly distributed on both sides of their neck or upper back. However, someone who uses only one hand will have pain on one side. Doctors will usually come to the conclusion with text neck after completing a physical exam and reviewing your symptoms. Symptoms of text neck can include:
- Pain in the neck, upper back, and/or shoulder-The pain can be an intense or stabbing sensation in one specific spot or general achiness that covers a broader region.
- Forward head posture and rounded shoulders-Looking down at your screen can cause your neck, chest, and upper back muscles to become imbalanced and deconditioned. This deconditioning of your muscles can lead to difficulty maintaining good posture.
- Reduced mobility-Your neck, upper back, and shoulders may experience tightness, making it difficult to move around.
- Headaches-Excessive time spend starting at screens can increase the risk of eyestrain or headaches. The muscles at the back of your neck may spasm and become painful, which could then refer the pain from your neck to your head.
- Neck flexion pain-Your overall symptoms will worsen when your neck is flexed into the position that is the cause of the problem, like looking down at your device.
RSI Can Help
Many people may benefit from a comprehensive treatment plan provided by their chiropractor to treat text neck. There are many different treatment options that your chiropractor can provide, such as manual adjustments, massage therapy, or laser therapy in addition to a stretching and exercise plan.
If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Fierro, call (904) 270-2673 to see how he can help you with your back or neck pain today.