Does Your Child Have Text Neck?
According to Pew research, for 21st-Century teens, having a smartphone and spending upwards of 9 hours a day on it, has become the norm. Though this trend is no different from the addictiveness that adults have with their cell phones as well, the damage to the neck muscles can be greater for the younger demographic. This is called “Text Neck”. As your child’s body changes, having improper posture can put undue strain on the muscles, the bones, and in turn the spine.
As the number of hours spent on mobile devices is expected to increase, it is essential for parents to put a back care plan in place to counteract the health effects that prolonged technology use can cause.
With extended cell phone use, a physical condition, being referred to as “text neck” is emerging and proving that teens and young adults are at the greatest risk.
What is “Text Neck?”
When your child spends time on their phone, they are often looking in a downward posture, keeping their head, neck, back, and spine in one, often uncomfortable position. Though it may feel comfortable, in the moment, holding this craned-neck posture for hours or frequently throughout the day inadvertently puts the cervical spine at great risk. The cervical spine supports the neck and head and is positioned at the top of the spine. Having incorrect posture puts this portion of the spine out of alignment. When that occurs, chronic neck and back pain can quickly make simple movements very painful and inhibit your child’s growth and physical development.
It is difficult to predict what the long-term effects of having a prolonged craned-neck posture can have on overall health. However, medical researchers speculate that the increased use of mobile devices may come with a future increase in early-onset arthritis of the neck.
Despite the evidence pointing to long-term effects, research studies have found that text neck can cause immediate health problems such as severe upper back pain, strained neck and shoulder muscles, and pinched spinal nerves. And, children and teens are the most at risk of developing these debilitating conditions, as their mobile device usage is nearly two times greater than adults.
How do you prevent text neck?
The short answer is to limit cell phone and mobile device use per day, limiting it to no more than 1 hour a day. However, the longer term solution to prevent chronic back and neck pain is to maintain a straight posture when viewing a mobile device. Making regular visits to an experienced pediatric chiropractor can be the most effective way to address spinal misalignment at its source and correct any muscle and spinal issues before they evolve into a more long-term issue.
The welcoming and knowledgeable chiropractors at Corrective Chiropractic are specialized in correcting text neck, even in the smallest of patients.