If you are dealing with neck pain and have had no previous injury, you may want to look to your phone habits. In the U.S., people spend about 5 hours a day on their phones. If you look down at your phone for long periods, you may develop poor posture, which can affect your neck. In fact, this pain has been termed "text neck" since phone use and texting are common culprits for neck pain. See why your phone usage can cause your neck pain and how a chiropractor can help you.
Why Does Looking Down at Your Phone For Long Periods Hurt Your Spine?
On average, the human head weighs about 10 to 12 pounds. As you lean forward to look down at your phone, this weight and gravity can put a strain on your spine. When you slump over to look at your phone, your neck moves forward instead of staying in alignment with your spine. Your back and shoulders may also round forward to compensate. This type of posture can compress and overextend tendons, muscles, and ligament structures in your back and neck.
How Can a Chiropractor Help?
You'll want to visit a chiropractor for a diagnosis to make sure your neck pain is caused by posture issues from phone usage. Here are just a few things your chiropractor can do to help.
Chiropractors have specialized tools that can attach to your head to gently pull it away from your neck. Cervical traction devices stretch vertebrae—the small bones that make up your spine—in your neck and relieve any pressure or pain you may be feeling from compressed nerves.
Dry needling is a treatment that's been adapted from acupuncture. During dry needling, your chiropractor may use very thin needles to stimulate trigger points. Trigger points are painful areas of fascia that cause muscle tightness. According to one study, people who received dry needling for neck pain experienced a decrease in their symptoms immediately after treatment. Participants also had a better range of motion and were better able to bend their necks up and down and side to side without pain.
If you've been holding your head in an improper position for a long time, it may feel unnatural to adjust your posture. A cervical adjustment can make it easier for you to transition to a better posture. During an adjustment, your chiropractor will make a controlled thrust with an instrument or their hands to correct any misaligned vertebrae.
Your muscles may spasm or be tight due to poor posture, so massage therapy is a great way to loosen up these muscles and relieve pain. Massage therapy can improve your neck pain since massage releases endorphins and improves circulation.
Lastly, to extend chiropractic benefits, it's a good idea to adjust your daily phone habits. For instance, get an app to monitor your phone usage and take stretching breaks when you notice that your neck is getting sore. Contact a company, such as Eric Schmetterling DC, for more information.