“Text Neck” or “Tech Neck” is when there are changes to the shape of a child’s spine due to bad posture. This can be caused by spending too much time looking down at a smart device, or by being hunched over a computer.
You can tell by looking at someone’s posture from the side. Does their head jut forward? Are their shoulders rounding forward?
More often than not these changes can be present without symptoms. Over time, text neck tends to get worse and can lead to headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, and mid or lower back pain. It can even cause numbness and pain into the arms and hands and may lead to behavioural issues and difficulty concentrating.
Whilst this used to be more common in office workers, it’s now not uncommon to see children as young as 12 suffering from text neck.
What can you do?
Prevention is better than cure!
– Start the day with stretches. When you wake up your child in the morning, take five minutes to help them stretch. Stretching helps them to stay flexible and can help take strain and stress off the spine. It’s crucial to do this before they spend the whole day sitting at school or starting an activity in which they’ll be seated.
– Make sure your child gets at least 1 hour of physical activity every day.
– When using smart devices encourage your child to have them at eye level and not on their lap. Ensure their head isn’t hanging from their shoulders. A great way to encourage good posture is to have your child balance a book on their head while using their device. There are also many ipad stands on the market that can be placed on a table so your child is looking straight ahead.
See here for ways to hold your mobile device
Ways to hold your phone
– Ensure adequate hydration. The discs of the spinal column are mainly made up of water; therefore, it is important to stay hydrated during the day, in order to maintain flexibility and health.
– Limit screen time. Limiting screen time and helping your child to find a balance between the online world and the real world is important. This might be easier said than done, but to help your child stay healthy, it’s important to help them find other activities to fill their time.
If in doubt – please ask a chiropractor. Many of our patients report a big improvement in their posture after starting chiropractic care. Of course – the worse your posture, the more work can be involved, so correcting the problem sooner than later is advised!