Has the use of hand held electronic devices become an epidemic? We are all, including myself, becoming increasingly more dependent up on our cell phones, pads and hand held computer devices. As a chiropractic practitioner with over 30 years of clinical experience, I have noticed an increasing number of patients, young and old, appearing with limited cervical range of motion and cervical discomfort. I frequently hear that they are having not only neck pain and stiffness, but also headaches, upper back pain and even pain and numbness into their arms. When I do a postural examination and motion palpation on these clients I commonly find forward head posture.
These findings can be attributed to the fact that individuals bend her head forward to look at their electronic devices. This creates a direct increase in weight-bearing on the cervical spine. The forward head flexion puts direct strain on the posterior cervical musculature,it stretches the cervical facet joints and can even put strain upon the cervical discs. Over long periods of time this can lead to weak neck and upper back muscles, rounding of the shoulders, “military”(straightened) neck, and even degenerative changes within the spine itself.
Chiropractic adjustments can help restore natural range of motion within the cervical and thoracic spine. This helps reduce soft tissue imbalances because the muscles are under less stress. Patients often report symptomatic relief after just several adjustments. I commonly recommend cervical stretching and exercise as well as postural improvement. I encourage all of you to practice good posture while using your electronic devices. This can be accomplished by holding your head up, while keeping it directly over your upper back and shoulders. Keep your eyes level and your chin up. Hold those shoulder sback and don’t forget to take breaks!