Friday, January 20, 2012

Discomfort and muscle pain from texting has become so common that it now has a name: “Text Neck,” and there’s even a medical institute that specializes in treatment.

Dr. Dean Fishman adopted the phrase and changed the name and focus of his practice after seeing a huge influx of younger patients visiting his chiropractor facility complaining of neck, back, arm and shoulder pain. He now runs the Text Neck Institute in Plantation, Fla.

“Whenever kids came to the office with pain, I noticed they were always on their phones,” Fishman told Mashable. “They would be positioned at ‘forward head posture,’ but that term wasn’t resonating with parents. After I started calling it “text neck”, we got an emotional response and decided to trademark the name to help change the way people hold their mobile devices.”

According to the Wireless Association, Americans sent 196 billion texts in June 2011, compared to 12.5 billion texts in 2006. Not only are more people communicating with others on mobile devices than ever before, smartphone adoption is giving consumers more access to media content on demand, such as using apps, games and even watching movies. This means that more people are finding themselves locked in text neck position for an extended period of time, increasing chances of pain, tendonitis and even arthritis.

The good news, however, is that the pain is treatable. In fact, the Text Neck Institute conducted a study with two groups consisting of patients ages 13 to 27  both groups received chiropractic care, x-rays and exercises. Although both groups said they felt better after one month, one group was asked to hold their mobile devices at eye level instead and reported the most improvement.

“Some believe people need put down their devices and walk around more, but it’s more of an issue of proper posture,” Fishman said. “In addition, it’s not just a teenager problem — young kids who play on their parent’s devices to even learn the alphabet should be taught to keep the phone at eye level.”

 1. Prone Neck Extension
 
Lay face down, arms by your side. Lock the shoulder blades back and down. Extend the head up to look at the ceiling, then lift shoulders and the chest. Hold position for 10 seconds, then lower the chest, shoulders and head -- in that order. Repeat for a set of 10. 
 
 
2. Prone Arm Abduction:
 
Lay face down with your head and upper chest just off of a flat surface or exercise ball. Lock your shoulder blades back and down. Your arms should be down to towards the floor with your thumbs facing out, hands facing up. Reach your arms out so the body resembles a "T." Return the arms down toward the floor, while still maintaining the shoulder blades back and down. Make the movement of the arms slow and deliberate. Repeat 12 times. 
 
 
 
3. Prone Arm 90/90
 
Lay face down with your head and upper chest just off of a flat surface. Lock the shoulder blades back and down. Arms should be down towards the floor with the thumbs facing in, hands open. Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle and then rotate your arms backward. Next, rotate your arms forward to the starting positions. Then bring your arms back down toward the floor while still keeping the shoulder blades back and down. Make the movement of the arms slow and deliberate. Repeat 12 times.
 
 
4. Snow Angles
 
Stand with your back, heals and head against the wall. Bring your arms as far back to the wall as possible, so both arms are at a 90-degree angle. Lock the shoulder blades back and down. Slide arms over the head, while never allowing arms to lift off of the wall. Once overhead, bring your arms down so the elbows are flush against the side of your body, never allowing them to come off of the wall. Keep the shoulder blades locked back and down. The movement is slow and deliberate. Repeat 12 times.