Technology can be a pain in the neck — literally

Q: I think my phone is hurting my neck! Have you heard of this complaint from others?

A: Technology brings lots of good things to our lives, putting information and communication potential at our fingertips. Technology can also be a pain in the neck. Literally. Many times, I have patients complain of unexplained neck and upper back pain, rarely do they knowingly blame it on their phone or computer or other device. The way I find that this is the cause is through thorough questioning. Once we start to uncover their habits and daily activities, most people don’t argue that these are likely the culprit for their pain.

The constant looking down and manipulation of tiny keyboards on iPhones, gaming devices and any of the other numerous phones and pads that are on the market today can cause pain not only in the neck — Florida chiropractor Dean L. Fishman has dubbed the problem “text neck” — but also in the shoulders and the back. It’s not uncommon, for instance, for a youngster, hunched over a device, to send more than a hundred text messages in a day.

The American Chiropractic Association recommends that when using one of these devices, you do your best to maintain good posture. Sit in a chair that provides good support and lets you keep your feet comfortably on the floor. Also, whenever possible, hold the device at eye level rather than looking down at it. Take a break from your gadget periodically and give those muscle groups a rest, especially if you feel muscle pain or start to get a headache.

It is very common for people to seek out a chiropractor for these problems and the effect is tremendous relief in most cases. This is an easy situation for a chiropractor to help and typically a person can become very educated to help themselves not succumb to the problem again frequently, but if you are forced to use devices on a regular basis then regular “maintenance” adjustments may just need to be a part of your life. Talk with your chiropractor about the safe way to engage in your favorite tech activity.

My office and providers voluntarily offer community health talks free of charge to those in the Morgantown area. Each speaker is a representative of The Foundation for Wellness Professionals.

We can be reached at 304-225-9355 for questions regarding this community health service, if your organization is interested in wellness speakers.

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