Texters neck…a real pain in the head.
By Michelle Gellis LAc Mac
During my years in practice as an acupuncturist I have noticed a sharp increase in neck issues with my patients. This problem affects individuals of all ages, the youngest I have seen in my practice was less than two years old. When I first began in practice I noticed the correlation between sore necks/upper backs and headaches. Releasing these tense muscles through acupuncture, cupping, and gua sha, brings tremendous relief for headaches and migraines, yet I couldn’t help but wonder why is there such a sharp increase over the years, especially in my younger patients.
The answer came to me one day as I walked through the San Diego airport. As I scanned the seats, the restaurants, and the walkways, I observed everyone was looking down: Teens and adults on their phones, toddlers on iPads. I could not look in any direction without seeing people starring straight down.
The damaging effects of holding your head in a downward position are well documented. When you tilt your head forward it puts strain on the muscles which hold the head up and also the shoulders and sides of the neck which can involve the trapezius, SCM, rhomboid, levator scapula, and several other muscles. Strain on these muscles tends to result in headaches on the sides of the head and temples. Strain in the back of the neck, the suborbital region, involve the suboccipital and Splenius Capitus muscles will result in headaches referred to the top of the head. Additionally, when held in a downward position for too long, the cervical vertebrae compress the cervical discs, which can cause the discs to bulge or rupture causing nerve pain down the arm and into the hand.
Regular acupuncture treatment has proven effective to relax tight muscles and create overall relaxation and well being. I also encourage my patients to hold their devices at eye level whenever possible, takes breaks and do stretching of the neck and upper back muscles several times a day.