Huntsville, Ala. (WZDZ) — Have you ever caught yourself craning your neck down looking at your cell phone? This poor form of posture is being called Text Neck. It’s becoming widespread as more and more of us are glued to our devices.
Doctor of physical therapy, Byron Moffett, who sees patients at Focus Physiotherapy in Huntsville, Ala., says Text Neck is something he sees almost everyday and in every patient.
“It’s becoming an epidemic,” said Moffett. “Our kids are beginning to look at iPads at age two or younger. This process of changes that are happening in the spine are happening at a younger and younger age.”
He said it’s also impacting many adults, causing changes in the spine — particularly in the neck and upper back region.
“When your head goes down and into a forward position, these upper seven neck veterbrae migrate down and forward, and what that does is shift the vertebrae more anteriorly, so that the upper back is also brought forward into a slumping position.”
Over time, he says it will make changes in the upper neck and back joints and ultimately discs.
“So later on in your life it’s going to contribute to bone spurring in the joints of the neck, degenerative changes in the disc and could increase the likelihood of a cervical disc bulge,” he said.
For the past several weeks, Kim Fox has been getting physical therapy with Moffett. Years ago, she had an injury that left her dealing with severe migraines every day.
“From the six years of battling the injury and the headaches, yes, my posture definitely started slumping,” said Fox. “Not using my back and my neck weakened a lot of the muscles.”
And there was another aggravator.
“I used to do a lot of reading on the Kindle.”
The problem was the way she was using the device.
“I was doing a lot of this,” she said, bending her neck downward.
Moffett got Fox a pillow to support her while reading on her Kindle, bringing it upward, to help her from craning her neck down to read it.
That, and physical therapy with Byron, Kim said, has helped a lot.
“Through physical therapy, I’ve learned techniques of stretching my neck,” she said. “I do those on a routine basis of every morning, and then at night before I go to bed, or throughout the day if I am having difficulties or feel my neck tightening, I will go into those stretches.”
Moffett also showed Fox exercises to do at home that she does regularly. As she has worked to get back into healthy alignment, she said she is becoming more aware of her posture in everyday life.
Moffett also pointed out that an older term for Text Neck is Scholar’s Neck — which got it’s name from people studying so much in the pursuit of scholarship. It’s basically the same head position of looking downward and can cause similar injuries. He recommends being aware of your posture and going to see someone if you’re having an increase of neck pain or tension.
Moffett is a doctor of physical therapy and Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapy. He sees patients at the following Focus Physiotherapy location: 1140 Eagletree Ln SE, Huntsville, AL 35801.