Yes, Text Neck is a real thing! And I am sure many of you can hear your grandparents right now saying, “Sit up straight!” Or, “Don’t slouch at the dinner table!” Well to be honest, they were on to something. This is a new term and a new diagnosis that is happening, and it is something I am seeing more and more. I became a chiropractor 9+ years ago and I would rarely see kids with text neck but now if I see a child in my office 75-80% have this condition. Almost every child that I take X-rays of has some level of text neck. Whenever we are on our mobile devices or working at our computers we are looking down and when our kids are in school they are slouching at a desk for 4-5 hours a day.
Why is this bad? Well it has to do with your brain and nervous system. Your brain and nervous system controls everything. And your brain sends messages down the spine, through your neck first before it gets to the rest of your body. The problem is that with poor posture, text neck, the brain’s messages are interfered with and alter the communication between the brain and organs. This directly affects the way your whole-body functions and creates an environment where your body begins to build disease.
You should have a nice rounded curve in the neck, called “the arc of life”. But with slouching, forward head posture, and text neck (loss of curve) you are compressing the spinal cord that run through your neck. And maybe you have heard people say that the body regenerates itself every 7 years. Yes, this is true. You are producing new skin cells, new heart cells, new stomach cells, etc. However, the nervous system controls all of it, so damage or compression to the nervous system you can see how it will directly affect healing and functioning. And that is why posture and having the curve in your neck is crucial to a healthy body.
There is hope and text neck is correctable! Here are the 3 tips we have for you to implement into your lifestyle and into your family to begin the process.
- Devices at eye level – We have a rule in our house that if we are on a device it is at eye level. What begins to happen with our children is that their arms will get tired and they begin to lower the device. And when that happens, we take the device away (no questions asked – we love this rule). This helps their posture and also encourages them not to want the device, because they know if they can’t hold it up they can’t have it. It’s a win win!
- (For Kids) Play that encourages good posture – Crawling with kids! We play zoo animals a lot. What happens when you are in the crawling position, you have to bring your neck up to crawl, and you have to use your left hand and right foot and vice versa which works to help build left and right brain coordination/connections (cross crawl technique). We also think of exercises you do as an adult and turn them into play. Such as plank competitions, bridges, etc.
- Wall Stands – This is a simple exercise your whole family can do. Push your shoulder blades back and down against the wall, push your palms down and push your neck in, (creating a double chin) and hold your whole back against the wall for 10 seconds. This encourages strong upper back muscles (rhomboids), helps re-build the neck curve, opens the chest and strengthens overall posture. Repeat this 10 times/10 sec daily.
We hope this helps and encourages you! Take these 3 simple tips and begin changing your families posture!
Dr. Raul and Jess