Attention Neck Pain Sufferers,
A brand new enemy is lurking in the streets that we live in these days. The houses we sleep in, the schools we go to, the job we work at, and basically everywhere we go. This enemy is getting bigger and badder, meaner and meaner, and it is ultimately ravaging our health on a daily basis.
Anyone who has watched Star Trek before knows exactly about the dreaded Borg. For those of you that don’t (sorry for showing you my Star Trek geekiness), this race functions on being “wired in” with their fellow Borg at all times.
They were part of “cells”, or were organized in units, and they were organized like drones similar to bees when they slept in the hive. You would have the Queen bee, and the rest of the colony. The Borgs were similar to this, but they had the technology to communicate and “assimilate”, or all be part of one big giant communicating civilization.
Sorry if that appeared to nerdy for those who never watched star trek, and I apologize to all the die hards who believe my explanation was completely off. Either way, that is the way I remember it.
So what does this have to do with the evil enemy that I spoke of, that I believe is taking over the world as I know it, and surely taking over the way we communicate with each other?
Well, with the advance of technology people seem to be connected to the hand held devices at all times. Text messaging with each other through out the entire day, being on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and any and all other communication platform. Its not a far stretch to call us the “New Borg.”
We have seen the enemy, and he is us.
Its true, this evil enemy that exist is ourselves, and our insatiable appetite for being in constant communication with each other. We text message our friends, we email each other, we Facebook each other, we add a tweet to our Twitter account, blogging, etc. Nowadays, all of this can be accomplished on our phones, from the palms of our hands.
Geez, what did we do before we had these capabilities, before these hand held devices, surely we were living in the dark ages?
So how is this our enemy?
Well, given that more and more young people are constantly connected, unfortunately, the position the mere act of communicating puts our neck and spines in, through-out the entire day, is really wrecking havoc on our bodies.
Neck pain, shoulder pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, tingling into the upper extremity, all are conditions that are becoming more and more prevalent with the young, much more frequently.
Heck, I even read on twitter with keyword updates that allows you to see what people are texting with the keyword that you select (neck pain).
In their tweets, most younger folks say how bad their neck pain is, how they just woke up in pain, and have no idea what they did. Well I can tell you, if you even use twitter, chances are that you are also a “texter”, and you probably are known to spend an hour or three on the computer.
Chiropractor Dean Fishman, founded the Text Neck Institute, and coined the term “Text Neck”. I think this is a great term because it is really turning into an epidemic. Text neck according to Dr. Fishman is Text Neck is: “a repetitive stress injury to the body from using hand held mobile devices such as mobile phones, portable gaming units, MP3 players, e-readers and the like”.
Dr. Fishman further goes on to elaborate on what some of the finding of text message are. Seeing younger and younger patients with degenerative changes, otherwise known as early arthritis. A reversal of the normal neck curvature, is the second finding.
With both these changes in the neck, the individual develops a forward head carriage, which then leads to chronic pain. Muscles, ligaments, discs, and joints all become chronically overstretched, and ultimately, the aforementioned headaches, neck pain, upper back pain, carpal tunnel pain, and numbness and tingling develop.
So what solution(s) do I suggest to combat this evil enemy?
Well the obvious and easiest choice would be go to a health care specialist who has a lot of experience focusing on a forward head carriage, and reversing of the cervical curvature.
Doctors of chiropractic have the market cornered in this area (in my opinion), and can help identify mechanical restricted areas, help re-set/re-align the proper structure of the neck, and educate the patient to avoid this harmful position in the first place.
However, that said, I always say that even if you go to your chiropractor, it is but a mere drop in the bucket to the remainder of the day, the time your neck remains in forward head position based on all the postural stressors you experience. Simply put, your neck is trained to be in the Forward Head Position (FHP).
With this posture, you have what is indicative of a FHP, and is also known as an “upper crossed syndrome”. With the upper crossed syndrome, the deep neck flexors in the front, and the rhomboids of the back, become chronic weak.
Additionally, the front pectorals, and the rear upper trapezius muscles become tight. Combined together, the neck gets the “TEXT NECK” that Dr. Fishman coined.
The other solution is to learn the exercises that will strengthen the weakened, neck flexors and rhomboids, and learn the exercises that will restore the tightened pectorals and upper trapezius muscles.
Being aware of your posture when texting, sitting, working, driving, relaxing, reading, and everything else we do in our lives will ultimately become automatic, and I guess, will be the super hero to eliminate the enemy.
Till next time, watching your back and neck.
Doctor Joel Rosen