Your Smartphone Could Be Rapidly Aging Your Spine

The average person in the United states spends anywhere between 2-4 hours per day looking down at their phone. Add those hours up over the course of a year and you’re looking at 700-1400 hours! This modern-day phenomenon is widely known as “text neck”. So, what exactly is “text neck” and what are these contemporary … Continue reading “Your Smartphone Could Be Rapidly Aging Your Spine”

The average person in the United states spends anywhere between 2-4 hours per day looking down at their phone. Add those hours up over the course of a year and you’re looking at 700-1400 hours! This modern-day phenomenon is widely known as “text neck”.

So, what exactly is “text neck” and what are these contemporary conveniences doing to our bodies?Image result for text neck image"

The term “Tech Neck” was coined in order to address the impairments and injuries associated with this prolonged flexed neck position. This posture, along with rounded shoulders, can result in face, jaw, or skull pain, headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, disc degeneration, and overall stiffness of our neck and shoulder muscles. Spending excessive time in dysfunctional postures such as this one, as well as lack of exercise, stretching, and postural stabilization can lead to increased flexion of our lower cervical vertebrae and the upper thoracic vertebra, increased “flattening” of our upper cervical vertebrae, and tightness in the muscles at the base of our skulls.

Symptoms of text neck: 

  • Headaches, due to tightness or tension in the muscles attaching to the skull (suboccipitals) 
  • Upper crossed syndrome- tightness of the upper trapezius, levator scapula, pectoralis major and minor along with weakness of the deep neck flexors, middle, and lower trapezius. 
  • Stiffness and or pain in the neck 
  • Possible disc compression or narrowing of the spine 
  • Changing of the structure and shape of the cervical or thoracic spine. 
  • Decreased lung capacity 

A surgeon-led study that published in Surgical Technology International assessed what impact surgeons’ head and neck posture during surgery—a posture similar to that of smart-phone texters—has on their cervical spines. With each degree that our heads flex forward (as we stare at a screen below eye level), the strain on our spines dramatically increases. When an adult head (that weighs 10 to 12 pounds in the neutral position) tilts forward at 30 degrees, the weight seen by the spine climbs to a staggering 40 pounds, according to the study. 

How prevalent of a problem is this?

According to the study, the average person spends 14 to 28 hours each week with their heads tilted over a laptop, smartphone or similar device. Over the course of a year, that adds up to 700 to 1400 hours of strain and stress on our spines. As a result, the number of people dealing with headaches, achy necks and shoulders and other associated pain has skyrocketed.  

What to do to combat this issue?

Ergonomic work desks placed at the appropriate heights and angles can greatly reduce our tendency to adopt this maladaptive forward head posture as well using the correct number of pillows while sleeping. 

Reducing time on our smart devices to less than 1 hour and taking breaks every 30 minutes while completing computer work or reading are great ways to reduce excessive time looking down. Performing exercises that lengthen commonly affected and shortened muscles such as our upper trapezius, neck muscles, and pectorals will help to alleviate tension and soreness in the head and neck. Finally, performing activities that reinforce proper postural alignment such as chin tucks and scapular stabilizer strengthening are key tools to improve upper quarter endurance and reduce forward head/rounded shoulder posture. 

Over time, this type of poor posture can have a cumulative effect, leading to spine degeneration, pinched nerves and muscle strains. Scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist can help people learn how to interact with their devices without harming their spines. The PT will prescribe an at-home program that includes strategies and exercises that focus on preserving the spine and preventing long term damage.

Stay tuned for our video exercise series that will demonstrate a few easy techniques to improve your “text neck”.

For more information please contact Innovative Physical Therapy at 619-260-0750 to speak with one of our therapists today!

Research from:

T oh SH, Coenen P, Howie EK, Straker LM. The associations of mobile touch screen device use with musculoskeletal symptoms and exposures: a systematic review. PLoS One 2017; 12(8): e0181220. Accessed 18 July 2019.

Jump up↑ Sharan D, Mohandoss M, Ranganathan R, Jose J. Musculoskeletal disorders of upper extremities due to extensive usage of hand held devices. Annals of Ann Occup Environ Med. 2014; 26(22). Accessed 18 July 2019.

Jump up↑ Kwon JW, Son SM, Lee NK. Changes in upper-extremity muscle activities due to head position in subjects with a forward head posture and rounded shoulders. J Phys Ther Sci. 2015. 27; 6:1739–1742. Accessed 18 July 2019.

https://ppsapta.org/userfiles/File/APTA

 

 

Pilates & Prosecco at Innovative Physical Therapy!

Join IPT for a 55 minutes Mat Pilates class followed by a glass of prosecco and lite bites! Get to know our team and see our fitness gym! $20 Reserve your spot here: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/ws?studioid=495648&stype=-8&sView=day&sLoc=1

Join IPT for a 55 minutes Mat Pilates class followed by a glass of prosecco and lite bites! Get to know our team and see our fitness gym!

$20 Reserve your spot here:

https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/ws?studioid=495648&stype=-8&sView=day&sLoc=1

Yearly Physical Therapy Visits are Just as Important as Any other Health Check Up

You know the drill: During your annual visit, your primary care physician will order a cholesterol test. Combined with an assessment of health measures such as diet and exercise, the results of the cholesterol test will provide your physician with the information she needs to make a recommendation. If the results are positive, you might … Continue reading “Yearly Physical Therapy Visits are Just as Important as Any other Health Check Up”

You know the drill: During your annual visit, your primary care physician will order a cholesterol test. Combined with an assessment of health measures such as diet and exercise, the results of the cholesterol test will provide your physician with the information she needs to make a recommendation. If the results are positive, you might hear: “You’re doing great, keep doing what you’ve been doing!” If the results are unfavorable, then you’re more likely to be told: “I’d like you to walk for 20 additional minutes each day and eat cholesterol-lowering foods like oatmeal.”

Over time, high cholesterol can cause fatty deposits to form in your arteries, putting you in a high-risk category for heart disease and stroke. Similarly, the cumulative effects of poor posture or a muscular imbalance, for example, can take a toll on your body and inhibit your ability to move properly. That’s where a physical therapist comes in: Annual PT “checkups” can catch the musculoskeletal problems that put you at risk for injury or limit your ability to function down the line.

One of the best tools in a PT’s prevention arsenal is the movement screen. By analyzing your fundamental movements with a movement screen developed for their own practice or one that requires certification such as the Functional Movement Screen (FMS™), PTs can get a clear picture of what the future will bring for you. Based on the information gathered, a physical therapist can help you safely reach your fitness goals and teach preventive strategies that can be incorporated into your daily life.

Of course, it’s best to schedule your checkup before you’re experiencing a problem. That way, your physical therapist can establish a baseline based on your functional level at that time and use it to identify changes during subsequent annual visits. The effects of poor posture or a muscular imbalance may not be immediately apparent to you, but they will be to your PT. An annual “checkup” gives your PT an inside look at your musculoskeletal system, which is comprised of your muscles, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints and other connective tissues. It’s important that these essential internal structures are working together to support, stabilize and move your body.

Just as taking an annual trek to the primary care physician helps to monitor your cholesterol levels—and prevent heart disease—yearly physical therapy appointments allow your PT to identify and address any changes in the way you move before they become something more.

For more information regarding physical therapy or to book your Physical Therapy “checkup” call the clinic at 619-260-0750.

Resources: https://ppsapta.org

2020 Health Check

We highly recommend adding a trip to your physical therapist to your annual healthcare rounds this year to: Decrease your risk of injury Improve your overall health Live an active life Decrease daily aches and pains To feel good as your go through your daily routines Much like getting a physical and checking your overall … Continue reading “2020 Health Check”

We highly recommend adding a trip to your physical therapist to your annual healthcare rounds this year to:

  • Decrease your risk of injury
  • Improve your overall health
  • Live an active life
  • Decrease daily aches and pains
  • To feel good as your go through your daily routinesImage result for physical therapy benefits

Much like getting a physical and checking your overall health from your primary doctor, a physical therapist can address the specific needs of your musculoskeletal system, which is comprised of your muscles, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints and other connective tissues.

A musculoskeletal evaluation can ensure that these essential internal structures are working together to support, stabilize and move your body.

But why would I see a physical therapist if I am not currently injured?

Most people assume physical therapy is for those with current injuries or post-surgery. Physical therapy can help prevent future injury and help decrease pain that you may not consider chronic but could be avoided.

Maybe you’re an athlete, being sidelined by an injury can ruin a season, match, game, race etc. Maybe you’re an active weekend warrior – hiking, rock climbing, cycling. Being active opens up the possibility of injury if you are not careful and take care of your body. Don’t miss out on what drives you because of pain. Maybe you’re a middle-aged adult who wants to maintain good balance,  be active and keep up with your kids and grandkids.

No matter what stage you are in life, everyone can benefit from a physical therapy check up to learn about our bodies and become educated on how to strengthen and maintain a healthy and pain free body.

What Happens During the Evaluation?

During your annual Physical Therapy Check-up at Innovative Physical Therapy your physical therapist will review your medical history and perform a series of tests to check your strength and ability to coordinate and move your body from head to toe.

Knee pain San Diego

Your strength, flexibility, mobility, balance and overall function will be tracked from year to year. Just like with your physician, your physical therapist will pay special attention to any problems or concerns you are having. Often, patients have small complaints which can be easily solved with a bit of advice and home exercises recommended by your physical therapist at the check up!

Based on the information gathered, the PT is equipped to design an individualized program to prevent injuries and will capture an overall picture of your musculoskeletal health that can be compared from year to year.

Start your year off right and give your body the physical check-in it needs!

With the help of your physical therapist, you can move better, feel better, save money and prevent injuries!

Please call to schedule your annual physical therapy checkup today to receive a discounted price of $75 for a musculoskeletal evaluation for 30 min (normally $120).

Innovative Physical Therapy, “Solutions in Motion”

619-260-0750

info@innovativept.net