Text Neck: Why your phone is actually a pain in your neck

Altoona, Blair County, Pa. - You know that little jingle, or quick pinging sound? Well, many find it hard to resist.

Through phones or computers, we're connected to technology more than ever. 

“Probably at least 3-4 hours a day,” says Shania Feathers. The recent college graduate is finding out first hand that looking down at her phone or computer for so long comes with some serious health risks.

“I didn't think my neck was that out of wack, I just thought it just needed an adjustment,” she explains. 

But Shania started working for chiropractor Dr. Victor Rizzo in June. After complaints of tension headaches, he took some x-rays of her neck.

“This neck has a nice “C” shape towards the chin, this patient has a reverse curve,” says Dr. Rizzo as he shows two x-rays. Shania is the patient with the reverse curve. 

The diagnosis? Text neck. It's known as an over-use syndrome. 

“Where the muscles get fatigued and tired from not being able to keep the weight of the head in that position for a long period of time,” explains Dr. Rizzo.

He says it can make life real difficult for you as you get older, “left in this position this neck will degenerate earlier in life and this patient will see arthritis sooner than a patient who has a normal lordosis, many times .”

Dr. Rizzo says he's seeing more and more patients come in with text neck symptoms.

“We're seeing them on younger and younger folks which is is the biggest concern,” he says.

They have neck pain, headaches, and shoulder pain. “These patients also may experience some compromised breathing because of the amount of time they compress their lungs,” explains Dr. Rizzo.

But you can ease the pain. through spinal manipulation, a resistive neck machine, or resistive exercises you can do at home. Dr. Rizzo also suggest to give your devices a break and put them away. 

A chair is even taking on text neck.

“It does everything but the dishes,” says Mcartney’s Inc. Interior Designer Mary Beth Schmidhamer.

She uses the Steelcase Gesture. 

“We sell a lot to Penn State University because they're very concerned about their employee's well being,” says Schmidhamer.

The Gesture is designed to support a range of technologies and the postures that go with using them.

“This chair's unique, because the arms go up and down, in and out, and back and forward,” says Schmidhamer as she demonstrates how to use the chair. 

For instance, it allows you to  look at your phone at a higher less painful angle. Something Shania is still working on.

“Sometimes your forget, in the moment,” she says. “You know you're so used to looking down.”

But she's making a conscious effort to reverse her text neck.

“I feel like it's about at least 40-60% better, the exercises are definitely helping," says Shania.


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