It’s a common sight these days. A child or teen slumped in a chair, head tilted downward, madly typing away on a cellphone. And they probably spend much of their life in that position. But according to New Orleans Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer, prolonged periods of tilting one’s head downward to access a mobile device can create excessive strain on the cervical spine, causing a repetitive stress injury that can eventually lead to spinal degeneration.
The head in a neutral position – with the ears over the shoulders and the shoulder blades pulled back – has a normal weight of 10 to 12 pounds. If you start to tilt your head forward, with gravity and the distance from neutral, the weight starts to increase. So when your head tilts forward, you’re putting more weight on the front of the disks, which can lead to slipped or herniated disks or even blockage of the spine.
In addition, your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon reports that text-neck posture can lead to pinched nerves, arthritis, bone spurs and muscular deformations. The head and shoulder blades act like a seesaw, so when the head goes forward, the shoulder blades will flare out and the muscles start to change over time.
To remedy the problem, Dr. Meyer has a simple message: Keep your head up – while texting or scrolling, lift your mobile devices closer to the line of sight. Also, be sure to take frequent breaks while using your mobile devices, and research some exercises that you can perform to help strengthen the muscles behind the neck and between the shoulder blades in order to increase endurance for holding the device properly.
If you would like more information about how to prevent your child from experiencing text-neck – or find out if they are already suffering damage – call the office of New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer today to schedule a consultation.