Even though most smartphones are lightweight, after minutes or hours of use they seem to get much heavier. We all know that we're supposed to hold the phone level with our eyes, but most of us have taken to holding the phone in our lap. This forces our neck and head to do all the work, craning down to look at our laps.
If you take a moment to think about it, this is a highly unusual posture. No one in human history has spent so much time looking straight down as we do today. Even fine work, such as sewing or lace-making, can be done on a tabletop or counter, at least bringing the work closer to our eyes.
This unusual neck posture has been called "Text Neck" for many years now, and its influence is only growing on a large population of young people who are reporting neck pain, headaches, and shoulder pain. Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria has a large patient population with these symptoms, and I believe they are becoming more common as smartphone technology becomes necessary for work and play. Fortunately, the symptoms are preventable with proper posture and treatable with gentle chiropractic care. The video below provides an excellent explanation of Text Neck and how to avoid it.
Chiropractors have known about the condition known as "text neck" for years, and research is starting to catch up. Text neck is neck pain and loss of normal neck curvature because of prolonged slumping posture, generally brought about by hunching over a smartphone. A sudden increase in neck pain among younger people, students, and computer workers has led researchers to try to figure out the mechanism behind this pain. Anecdotally, more and more young people are presenting to chiropractic offices like Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria with neck pain and headaches.
It all comes down to posture. New research shows that bending your head down to look at a phone in your hands increases the head's pressure on the spine from a normal of about 10-12 lbs of pressure all the way up to 60 lbs of pressure on the spine. Also, by bending the head forward, the normal stable spinal curve in the neck flattens out, so all of this extra pressure on the neck is being supported by a less stable neck. No wonder that the ligaments of the neck get stretched, the muscles overwork, and pain syndromes begin!
From an article in yesterday's Daily Mail, which discussed the research:
Writing in the study, the researchers said: 'The weight seen by the spine dramatically increases when flexing the head forward at varying degrees.'
That same article includes some helpful tips on how to maintain proper posture:
More helpful tips can be found at our webpage discussing Text Neck.
We're already in the midst of our first snowfall of the season, and Peoria is turning into a gorgeous snowglobe. There probably won't be enough snow on the ground to demand shoveling or salting, but it isn't too soon to consider that there is a right way and a wrong way to shovel snow.
Here are some handy tips to keep you safe during shoveling season. And if you need a tuneup before you start, or if you tweak something when you're shoveling, remember to stop by your friendly Peoria chiropractor for a chiropractic adjustment!
It's fall again, and this is the time of year of sniffs, coughs, and flu. It's understandable that most people are worried about getting the symptoms of the flu, because it can prevent us from working well, going to school, or participating in our favorite hobbies.
Did you know that chiropractic has a long backstory with the flu? The very history of chiropractic shows a fascinating connection between infectious viruses and chiropractic care. In fact, chiropractors were not even licensed in most states of the USA in the early 1900's until after the dramatic events of the 1918 flu pandemic. Prior to this pandemic, chiropractors were often accused of practicing medicine without a license and even jailed. However, chiropractors showed amazing success at helping their patients to survive the flu in 1918, and the public perception quickly grew to accept chiropractors as healing doctors. Shortly thereafter, most states began licensing chiropractors. Today, of course, chiropractors are licensed to practice in all 50 states and many countries.
As hygiene has improved and other methods of battling the flu have been developed, much has been forgotten about the startling success of chiropractic in saving many lives during the flu pandemic.
As newly mutating viruses continue to make the news today across Peoria, Illinois, America, and the world, it is important to remember that the best strategy in defending oneself against the flu is to be as healthy as one can be. A strong immune system should be able to defeat most viruses, and strengthening the neuroimmune system is at the heart of chiropractic.
Sometimes when people have low back pain, they also have associated leg pain. Usually, we refer to this leg pain as sciatica. But is leg pain always sciatica?
Technically speaking, sciatica only refers to pain that travels down the leg via the sciatic nerve, which is really a superhighway of nerves that exits your low back on both sides and then travels down your buttock, the back of the thigh, the calf, and even into the foot. Often the pain associated with sciatica will travel down the leg and to the calf, ankle, or foot. Sciatica can be caused by irritation of the nerve at the low back or buttock (in what is called piriformis syndrome) due to compression, inflammation, spinal stenosis, disc herniation, etc.
However, there are other nerves that travel from the low back into the leg, and these nerves can also be irritated by similar circumstances. Here are two examples:
1) There's a nerve called the "lateral femoral cutaneous nerve" that can cause numbness and tingling at the outside of the thigh. That's the only place that will feel numb in this condition, called meralgia paresthetica. This condition is usually caused by compression of the nerve at the front of the thigh, groin, or low back.
You can sometimes solve meralgia paresthetica by yourself. If the nerve compression is being caused by having too many objects in your front pants pockets, for example, then simply removing the items from your pocket may relieve your symptoms. The compression can also be caused by obesity: the extra weight gain can put pressure on the nerve as it passes through the groin. In this case, weight loss will usually relieve the pain. Other causes, such as low back misalignment, will need to addressed by a few visits to your chiropractor.
2) The sacroiliac joints, if inflamed or immobile, can irritate nearby nerves and cause pain that radiates to the thighs, as well. The classic case of sacroiliac radiculitis involves low back pain that causes radiating pain to the outside of the thigh but usually stops at or above the knee. In other words, this radiating pain generally does not travel into the lower leg or foot the way that sciatica usually does.
The sacroiliac joints generally require chiropractic care to regain their proper function. Stretches and exercises can help to establish core strength in the low back and abdominal areas, but the sacroiliac joints usually need chiropractic adjustments to re-establish lumbar and pelvic biomechanical stability.
Radiating pain can affect many different nerves and result in many different presentations of pain, numbness, and tingling. It is important to remember that not all radiating pain is sciatica, and not all radiating pains require the same treatment.
If you are experiencing radiating pain, consult your chiropractor to obtain a proper diagnosis. Only when the correct diagnosis is established can the proper treatment be advised.
Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
All images used are under Creative Commons license.
Although every effort has been made to provide an accurate description of our chiropractic care and its benefits, the information given on this website and blog is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, medical advice for any condition.
If you have any questions regarding your condition, you should seek the help of Dr. Johnson in person, so that he may properly assess your condition.
This blog is provided by Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria, PC, proudly located in Peoria, IL.