Did you know people send an average of 250 million texts daily? Along with the convenience that technology provides, also comes the need to avoid or minimize injuries. This is particularly true of young people, who are still growing.
With the ever increasing daily use of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and handheld games, chiropractors are seeing an increase in corresponding Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI’s), known by names like text neck and Blackberry thumb. RSIs are injuries of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that are often caused by repetitive activities, forceful exertions, vibrations, mechanical compression (pressing against hard surfaces), or sustained awkward positions.
Text neck shows itself as curved shoulders, head hanging forward and down and is caused by poor posture from being hunched over a mobile device for a long time. This prolonged poor posture is often related to chronic headaches, shoulder, neck pain and can have long term impact.
Young men and women are especially at risk as they are heavy users of advancing technology i.e. smartphones and handheld gaming devices.
Text neck and neck strain can cause postural abnormalities and change the growth pattern, especially in the spine.
Technology isn’t going anywhere, so how can we help our children minimize the risks? The trick is to stress the importance of posture and how to attain it, since text neck is a postural abnormality.
There are several things parents and young people can incorporate into their daily activities to alleviate the symptoms of text neck, related RSIs and fortify their posture:
The best way to minimize the risk of RSIs related to mobile devices is to balance the use of these devices and all around techology.
Balance is critical. Encourage your child to take breaks from devices that are mobile and get regular physical activity to offset the effects of leaning over a smartphone, tablet or computer.
“You want to neutralize the stress,” says Doctor of chiropractic Brian Gushaty. “Strenuous physical activity for the upper body, such as racquet sports, can provide a good counterbalance for the strain caused by poor posture.”
Another key element is to introduce your child to a regular stretching program:
If you are worried your child is suffering from a repetitive strain injury like text neck, speak to a health care provider. A chiropractor is trained to treat RSI’s in all age groups and can provide advice on achieving a balanced healthy lifestyle for your whole family.
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