Text-Neck: The latest risk to our spinal health

Ground breaking research helps explain the negative effects of consistently looking down at a smartphone.

A shocking survey from 2015 revealed that 53% of people listed their mobile phone as the most valuable item they would save during a house fire.

Mobile phones and tablets are becoming a staple in the average home. The concern here is that extended use of these devices with our heads in forward flexion creates a variety of unwanted health challenges. Doctors have even created terminology for this new condition called ‘Text Neck’.

Studies show that the average person spends 2-4 hours a day with their head tilted forward, reading and texting on smart phones. Students and children can be even higher!

The average head position when looking at a smart phone has been shown to register at 60 degrees (see image below), equalling 60 lbs (27.2 kilos) of extra pressure on the neck and joints. The trauma amounts to putting four heavy bowling balls worth of pressure on the neck and spine with each minute of looking down at a cell phone.

So what can you do?

Three key action steps to minimising the risk of spine and neck damage/pain from technology use include:

1) See your Chiropractor regularly. Chiropractic adjustments may help reduce wear and tear in the joints and discs, lower tension in muscles, and improve function of the nervous system. Your chiropractor will also be able to identify any permanent damage that may be occurring in your posture or spine.

2) Good Posture Habits – utilise tools that support spinal curves and posture when sitting including rolled up towels behind your low back, posture poles, standing desks or exercise balls in place of standard desks. Your chiropractor can also recommend exercises to help strengthen neck and back muscles and correct posture!

3) Head Positioning – keep devices elevated when texting or viewing to keep the head in a neutral position. You can also lay on your back and keep the phone over your head to reduce forward head strain.

Talk to us today if you or your family would liked to be assessed for a spinal health check. Caring for our spine early on in life and before we begin to experience negative symptoms could potentially help us all avoid a lifetime of chronic pain and disease.

Stay Active – Spinal Health

An active spine is a healthy spine. This is important at any age. The Department of Health recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week.9 Activities such as surfing, soccer and strength training in the gym can have great benefits to your overall mental and physical health. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 56% of all Australians are not sufficiently physically active.10 This has a negative impact on your spinal health.

Benefits of regular exercise
Most physical activity can have great positive effects on the spine including the stretching, strengthening and repairing of muscles that help support your back. Regular exercise can also reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, build stronger bones, increase your energy, improve sleep patterns and so much more.

Just Start Walking
If the gym or sports field isn’t for you then walking is another great way to keep active. Some benefits of brisk walking include increasing your heart and lung fitness, muscle strength and endurance, and it contributes to a naturally upright posture.

Need a little extra help to get you walking to a healthier life? The Just Start Walking app is just what you need. This free app was developed by the Australian Chiropractors Association to encourage Australians to get outside and to get walking! The app allows you to not only map your walk, but track the distance and time taken.

The app also displays your walking history, so you can see your improvements, features local walking events near you and lets you share your walk with friends on social media.

Download the Just Start Walking app to take the first steps towards a healthier spine and be Ready for Life!

Chiropractic May Change Brain Function

Chiropractors over the years have held many theories and beliefs about Chiropractic and how it can impact a persons overall health.   Unfortunately, the research to support these beliefs has been slow to come.  Exciting new studies being published this year are finally bringing valuable evidence to support what many Chiropractors have believed all along. That Chiropractic care may be about far more than neck and back pain!

According to the ​Australian S​pinal ​R​esearch ​F​oundation (ASRF)​,​ regular Chiropractic care has been known to improve brain function by up to 20%. A Chiropractic adjustment stimulates the prefrontal cortex of the brain which is involved in behavio​ur, goal directed tasks, decision making, memory and attention. This means Chiropractic ​may influence overall cognitive function and help our bodies integrate information more efficiently*. ​​Chiropractic has also been shown to improve muscle strength, decrease muscle fatigue and speed up recovery​, which could carry substantial benefits to performance in athletes.

And the studies don’t stop there. In pregnancy studies conducted by the ​ASRF​,​ results have shown that ​Chiropractic care may ​impact the pelvic floor muscles ​helping them more during the birthing process​,​ ​which is important in supporting a natural delivery**.

In further studies conducted by the ​ASRF it was found that adjusting the spine can lead to an increase in proprioception ​which may decrease the likelihood of falls in older adults***.​  This is important research for our ageing population as Chiropractic may be able to assist them in staying mobile and independent longer through decreased risk of falling.​

​It is exciting to see that the research is beginning to support many of the widespread benefits of ​Chiropractic care.  With the​ potential for​ ​improved body function and decrease in pain levels​,​ Chiropractic ​may be able to positively contribute to your overall quality of life and help an individual begin, age and move through life as gracefully as possible.




*Lelic et al. “Manipulation of dysfunctional spinal joints affects sensorimotor integration in the pre-frontal cortex: A brain source localization study.” Neural Plasticity, Volume 1\2016

**Effect of Spinal Manipulation on Pelvic Floor Functional Changes in Pregnant and Nonpregnant Women: A Preliminary

Study. Haavik, Heidi et al. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 39 , Issue 5 , 339 – 347

***Holt, Kelly R et al, “Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care to improve Sensorimotor Function Associated With Falls Risk in Older People: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics