Teck Neck: Is technology affecting the health of our children?

In life there are so many advances in technology. Unfortunately these advances are having long term detrimental effects on our health!

Most people when using technology have their head and shoulders rounded forward. It is OK to be in this posture for a short period of time (a few minutes), however the problem is people are in this posture for long periods of time, day after day.

If you start taking notice of people when they are waiting in a queue or sitting waiting for an appointment, most people will be on their phones or reading, and have their head forward facing down. The scary fact is young people are probably the worst. What effect is this having on their brain function and their health throughout their life? This may also include the effects of anxiety, depression and emotional stresses that an ever increasing number of young people are having to cope with in the world today.

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From a posture point of view having the head forward can lead to neck and shoulder issues as well as affecting the nerves of this region which can affect the function of the lungs, heart and brain. This can also be affecting the nerves coming down through the arms and leading to symptoms of carpal tunnel. Along with this, it is reasonable to expect as time goes on you may be experiencing headaches, migraines, sleep disturbance and even dizziness.

Our 4 year old son who would only watch the iPad for no longer than an hour a day, not in one sitting and not everyday,  was showing signs of aggression and behavior that my husband and I were not happy with. We had no idea where this behaviour was coming from. From what I see in my practice I feel there is an impact that these devices are having. We have ‘lost’ the iPad in our house over the last 10 weeks and there has been a marked difference in our son’s behavior. He is calmer and not showing the level of stress and aggression that he was previously. Devices are taking over the lives of so many people which can be having a devastating effect to their health.

When you are in poor posture, this can eventually lead to imbalance in the neck and upper back.  As a result, this may start to interfere with the nerves of the neck and shoulder region. If this occurs it can lead to headaches, dizziness, vertigo, brain fog and poor concentration, arm tingling and numbness along with should and neck pain. As the mid back can become involved this may have an impact on breathing and any chest pain too. The pain is one part, however, the more devastating effect is how these nerves are affecting the health as time goes on. The scary thing is that pain is usually the last thing to appear and usually the health of the body is being affected well before the pain sets in.

Through Wellness Chiropractic, we work to remove any interference to the nerves to assist in correcting posture and reducing musculoskeletal related pain. The body has an amazing inborn ability to heal and function at its best when the nerves are not interfered with. Wouldn’t you want yourself and your family functioning at your best?

What can you do to counteract the negative effects of using iPads and iPhones?

  • Posture correction –

As has been mentioned in previous posts our bodies are designed to go out of ideal posture for short periods of time.  The problem is that people are in these poor postures day in day out (please refer to blog on “Sitting all day? Here are some tips to relieve the effects of poor posture!” when giving advice for office workers and desk ergonomics.)

When using a digital device, bring the device up to be at eye level to prevent you from looking down. If you are lying in bed it is still important to bring the device up. Use pillows on your chest/stomach to rest your arms on as you hold the device up.

  • Strengthen the neck and upper back –

When the body has had to be in a prolonged period of poor posture, this has a devastating effect on the muscles in the back of the neck and shoulders. As a result there is a loss of strength of these muscles. They are fatigued at a time when they are also trying to work harder and harder as the head and shoulders are rounded forward. It is important to strengthen these muscles so as they can support the neck and shoulder area in correct posture for longer periods of time.

A great exercise to strengthen this area is the “superman extension” exercise. You can either do this lying on the floor on your stomach or lying face down over a swiss ball. As you lie on your stomach you need to have your arms by your side and then focus on pulling your shoulder blades together as you lift your body off the floor or away from the swiss ball. It is important that your neck stays aligned with the length of your body, do not lift your chin up.

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  • Stretch the neck –

When the head is forward the front of the neck contracts and as a result the muscles in this area tighten and shorten. To lengthen these out a great stretch to do is turning your head 45 degrees to the side. From this position extend the neck back towards the shoulder blade on the side you turned to. So if you turned your head halfway to the right you would then want to extend your right ear over your right shoulder. You should feel a stretch in the front of your neck on the left from your jawline to your collarbone.

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  • Posture break and shoulder rolls –

Every 20 -30 minutes having a reminder to check your posture is wise. When you stand up tall and straight focus on breathing deep into your belly. Breathing deeply will help to relax the muscles in your neck and shoulder. When you breath in you can raise your shoulders up towards your ears and then as you breath out gently roll your shoulders down and back. Doing these gentle shoulder rolls can help to relax the muscles around the neck and shoulder area and help you achieve ideal posture more easily.

  • Chiropractic adjustment –

Chiropractic care helps to remove interference to the nerves, which have arisen due to long periods of poor posture overtime. When the nerves are interfered with this can start to have a negative effect. Wellness Chiropractic care help to restore movement to the neck and shoulder regions. Headaches, migraines, dizziness, vertigo, sleep disturbance, poor thinking and concentrating, breathing problems, chest pain and tingling and numbness into the arms and hands are common symptoms to arise due to interference to the nerves in this area of the spine.

If  there is a pain there is pressure on a nerve as the nerves are what send the messages to the brain for it to register “pain”. Chiropractic helps to alleviate any interference to the nerve and thus may help with relieving pain relating to poor posture. The nerves are also what send the messages to the muscles from the brain to control their function. Thus any loss of function in a muscle may be restored by improving nerve function in that area.

If you are suffering from Tech Neck and have tried to above exercises and still not getting full relief it may be an indicator that there is a deeper cause to your problem and you may benefit from having an assessment of your nervous system by a Wellness Chiropractor, like here at Global Chiropractic.

Dr. Deanne Esposito (Chiropractor)

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