As a mom married to a family wellness chiropractor for the past 15 years, I’ve become well-acquainted with the importance of spinal health for our overall well-being. With two daughters who love their smartphones, I’m constantly aware of the potential dangers of excessive phone usage and something called text neck.
Recently, a close friend shared how her daughter had been complaining of persistent neck pain. After hearing her story, I immediately recognized the dreaded “text neck” symptoms from constant phone usage. Living with a chiropractor for many years, I knew this issue must be addressed urgently.
In this article, we’ll explore how smartphone posture can negatively affect spinal health and how chiropractic care can save the day!
As a concerned mom, it’s important that we share this information with other parents so we can all work together to keep our children’s spines healthy and pain-free.
So, let’s dive deeper into the dangers of smartphone posture and what we can do to prevent and address this growing issue for smartphone users.
Understanding the Dangers of Smartphone Posture
Have you ever caught your child hunched over their smartphone, neck bent forward, head down, and shoulders slumped? I know I have, and it’s a sight that’s becoming all too common in households everywhere. But what’s the real impact of this seemingly innocent posture? Let’s break it down.
Defining “text neck” and its effects on the spine
“Text neck” or “tech neck” are terms used to describe the repetitive stress injury that occurs when we bend our necks forward for extended periods while using our smartphones. This posture places immense strain on the neck and upper back, causing the cervical spine to shift out of alignment. This extra stress on the spine causes neck pain. I’ve seen the long-term consequences of poor tech neck posture, and we must understand and address this issue early on.
Long-term consequences of forward head posture from smartphone usage
Imagine carrying an eight-pound bowling ball around with you all day. That’s the kind of pressure our necks are subjected to when we’re constantly looking down at our phones. Over time, this very head-forward posture can lead to a range of problems, such as:
- Chronic back and neck pain: Remember my friend’s daughter who complained of neck pain? As I stated before, I knew this was text neck, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Prolonged smartphone usage can lead to ongoing neck and upper back pain.
- Muscle imbalances: Constantly bending our necks forward can cause some muscles to become overworked while others weaken from disuse. This imbalance can make it more challenging to maintain proper posture even when not using a smartphone.
- Loss of natural cervical curve: Over time, the strain from smartphone posture can cause the neck to lose its natural curve, increasing the risk of long-term spinal issues.
The importance of addressing text neck early on
As parents, we want to protect our children and ensure they grow healthy and strong. That’s why it’s so important to tackle the issue of smartphone posture before it spirals out of control. Think about it: do we really want our children to face a lifetime of pain and discomfort simply because of how they use their phones and text neck? I know I don’t, and I’m sure you don’t either. So let’s look at what we can do to promote better head posture and spinal health.
Tips For Better Smartphone Posture and Less Neck Pain
Implementing good habits at home can go a long way in promoting better posture and preventing smartphone-related text neck issues. My husband and I have seen the benefits of these practices firsthand with our two daughters. By incorporating the following tips into our daily routines, we’ve managed to help our girls develop healthier habits when it comes to smartphone usage.
Encouraging regular breaks from smartphone usage
At our home, we’ve made it a point to schedule regular breaks from screens. Whether setting a timer or simply reminding our daughters to take a break every 20-30 minutes, we’ve found that these small pauses can make a big difference in reducing the strain on their necks and backs. Plus, it’s an opportunity for them to focus on other activities and engage with the family. I would never let them spend more than thirty minutes on their phones but to each their own.
Teaching children proper posture while using devices
We’ve made it a family rule to be conscious of our posture while using smartphones and other devices. One day, as we were all sitting in the living room, I noticed my youngest daughter hunching over her phone. I gently reminded her to sit up straight and hold her phone at shoulder and eye level. This simple change in posture can significantly reduce the stress on her spine.
- Holding the device at eye level: Encourage your children to bring their phones to eye level when using them. This can help maintain a neutral spine and reduce strain on the neck.
- Lift your head: Another easy way to relieve text neck is to have your children lie on their stomachs when using their phones. Lifting their head while lying face down naturally extends the neck instead of constant flexion of looking down.
- Maintaining a neutral spine: Remind your kids to sit or stand up straight with their shoulders back while using their phones. This helps keep the natural curvature of the spine and prevents slouching.
Promoting physical activity and strengthening exercises
One Saturday morning, my husband decided to teach our daughters some simple exercises to counter the effects of text neck. Now, these exercises have become a regular part of our routine. We’ve found that incorporating physical activities like stretching and strengthening exercises into our daughters’ daily lives has improved their posture and helped them develop a greater appreciation for their spinal health.
- Stretching and strengthening neck muscles: Teach your children to perform gentle neck stretches and exercises to help alleviate tension and strengthen the supporting muscles.
- Core stabilization exercises: Encourage your kids to engage in core-strengthening activities like yoga, which can help improve overall posture and spinal health.
By following these tips and sharing our experiences, we’ve created a supportive environment promoting healthy smartphone habits in our home. And you, too, can make a difference in your children’s lives by implementing these practices.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help Text Neck Pain
Even with the best intentions and consistent efforts to improve smartphone posture, it’s still possible for our children to develop misalignments and musculoskeletal symptoms. That’s where chiropractic care comes in.
As a family wellness chiropractor, my husband has been an invaluable resource for our family and many others in addressing and managing spinal health issues related to smartphone usage and text neck. Obviously, every patient’s medical history is different, but here’s how chiropractic care can make a difference:
Regular chiropractic check-ups for children
Like regular dental check-ups, scheduling consistent chiropractic appointments for your children can help identify and address potential issues before they become more serious. My husband routinely checks our daughters’ spines to ensure they’re maintaining proper alignment. It is a great text neck treatment.
Addressing misalignments and muscle imbalances
A chiropractor can correct misalignments and alleviate tension caused by poor posture and forward head posture. First, a chiropractor will assess the child’s head flexion angle and see if the text neck has caused issues. Then through chiropractic adjustments, this misalignment or what we call subluxations are corrected. These adjustments help the body restore spine balance and promote the proper functioning of the nervous system. This can alleviate the discomfort associated with neck pain caused by text neck.
Personalized treatment plans to restore and maintain spinal health
Chiropractic care is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Each child’s spine is unique, and a good chiropractor will develop a tailored treatment plan to address their specific needs. My husband has created individualized programs for our daughters, including adjustments, stretches, and exercises to help them maintain optimal spinal health. It helps with their sports activities as well!
Education on proper posture and ergonomics for everyday activities
In addition to hands-on treatment, chiropractors can guide you in maintaining good posture during daily activities like sitting, standing, and sleeping. This education is essential in helping children develop lifelong habits that promote spinal health.
Monitoring and adjusting treatment plans as children grow
As our children grow and their bodies change, so should their chiropractic care. By consistently working with a chiropractor, you can ensure that your child’s treatment plan is updated to accommodate their growth and evolving needs.
Incorporating chiropractic care into your family’s wellness routine can significantly address and prevent smartphone-related spinal issues. Working with a trusted chiropractor can help your children develop and maintain healthy habits that will benefit them for years.
Preventive Measures for Smartphone-Related Spinal Issues
As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” While chiropractic care can help address existing problems, it’s essential to take preventive measures to protect our children’s spinal health. My husband and I have adopted several strategies to minimize the impact of smartphone usage on our daughters’ spines, and I’d like to share these tips with you.
Setting limits on daily screen time
By establishing clear boundaries around daily screen time, we can encourage our children to engage in various activities and reduce the strain on their spines. This reduces the neck pain caused by text neck. In our household, we’ve set a daily limit on smartphone usage and emphasized the importance of spending time outdoors and engaging in other creative pursuits.
Encouraging alternative activities for leisure and relaxation
Instead of turning to their smartphones for entertainment, we encourage our daughters to explore other hobbies and interests. Activities like painting, playing sports, or even just going for a walk can provide a much-needed break from screens and mobile devices and promote a healthier lifestyle.
Creating a family culture of proper posture and device usage
One of the most effective ways to instill good habits in our children is by setting an example ourselves. My husband and I consciously try to maintain proper posture while using our devices, and we encourage our daughters to do the same. By creating a culture of awareness and mindfulness around spinal health, we can help our children develop habits that will serve them well into adulthood.
By taking these preventive measures, we can work together as parents to create a healthy environment that supports our children’s spinal health and overall well-being. It’s never too early to start prioritizing the health of our kids’ spines, and by making small changes, we can have a lasting impact on their lives.
In conclusion, protecting our children’s spinal health is crucial to ensuring their overall well-being, both now and in the future. Reducing the forward head posture is the main reason for text neck pain. As parents, we can actively address and prevent smartphone-related spinal issues by implementing healthy habits, seeking chiropractic care, and creating a supportive environment for our kids.
Our practice, Dody Chiropractic Center for Wholeness in Littleton, CO, utilizes a specialized chiropractic technique called KST (Koren Specific Technique). This gentle and precise method allows us to effectively treat patients of all ages, including children, by identifying and correcting misalignments in the cervical spine without needing traditional manual adjustments. It is a phenomenal text neck treatment option. We’ve found that KST chiropractic has been instrumental in helping our family, and many others, maintain optimal spinal health in the face of ever-increasing smartphone usage.
It’s important to remember that we’re not striving for perfection. As parents, we understand that changing habits and maintaining consistent routines can be challenging. However, by making small, incremental changes, we can help our children develop healthier habits and protect their spines for years to come. Let’s work together to ensure our kids grow up strong, healthy, and free from the pain and discomfort associated with smartphone-induced spinal issues.
If you want more information, please contact us on our website or give our office a call at 303-794-1737.
With over 20 years in the field, Dr. Dody is a seasoned chiropractor specializing in Functional Nutrition, Neurofeedback, and the Koren Specific Technique (KST). His unique ‘whole person approach’ identifies the root causes of health issues, offering patients not just relief but lasting wellness. Recognized for his expertise, Dr. Dody’s treatments often yield dramatic improvements from the very first visit.