Preventing Pain in Your Neck from Phone Use

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- In today's society, we're constantly using computers and hand-held devices. That causes something that’s now known as “text neck.”

Laura Burns started coming to the chiropractor last fall. "I just got tired of hurting all the time," she said.

She had tightness in her upper back and shoulders caused by something many of us spend a lot of time doing. "Just general time on the computer or watching T.V. or reading a book, anything that kind of brings your shoulders forward," she said.

Chiropractor Sandy Bowman with Health Source of West Des Moines says a condition known as "text neck" is becoming more common. "I have seen kids as young as seven years old with this condition," Dr. Bowman said.

It's from people hunching over their phones, playing video games or having poor posture at the computer. "What begins to happen is that over time of doing this constantly, their muscles become imbalanced," Dr. Bowman said. "They get a lot of neck issues. And, the curve in their neck can actually reverse."

You can help prevent text neck. "You can, instead of looking down, you can raise your device up. So, you're looking more directly at it," Dr. Bowman said.

You can also do stretches at home. "So hold your head back and tuck your chin in and squeeze your shoulder blades together like this. Just squeeze that for 5 or 10 seconds and relax it. Do that a series of times," she said as she showed one.

She also demonstrated an exercise you can do at work. "Just sit up straight at their desk. Place their hands underneath their desk and just push up under the desk like they're going to lift the top of the desk up. What that does is really activates those muscles that get weakened from head forward posture," she said.

If you have pain, numbness, tingling or headaches, you may want to go to the doctor. Burns gets adjusted once every three weeks and does daily exercises at home.

“It's nice not to be in pain as much. So, it's a good thing," she said.