How every day cell phone use can lead to diagnosis of 'text neck'

Medical studies are showing an increase in the number of cases of a condition called "text neck" or "tech neck." Chiropracters are treating it in different ways. (WHAM photo)

(WHAM) - It's a problem one chiropractor says impacts nearly all of her patients. The condition is called text neck.

Kristen Seversky first came to Pace Family Chiropractic about 5 years ago.

"I woke up and my neck was locked up and I could barely turn and move. I just remember saying 'this is terrible pain, I need to go see a chiropractor,'” said Seversky.

Seversky, a software developer, was suffering from text neck. Chiropractor Dr. Sarah Pace says it happens when people spend too much time looking down at devices which causes forward head posture.

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"It made sense to me that someone with my career being in front of computer screens and phones and gadgets that I would have some sort of forward head posture,” said Seversky.

"They are blown away and it totally makes sense to them after they see it, but day to day life people aren't thinking about their posture,” said Dr. Pace.

Dr. Pace says she is seeing the condition more and more in children, some as young as two-years-old.

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"I see kids coming in with worse forward head posture than the adults, because they are starting as such an early age with these phones,” said Dr. Pace.

"When we get to the angle where we are looking down, that 45 degrees or more, we are putting 60 plus pounds of extra stress on our spinal cord, our nerves, our discs and that's what starts to form that arthritic process,” said Dr. Pace.

Researchers recently looked at 7,000 young adults over a 5-year-period. The study, published in The Spine Journal in 2017, found persistent neck and back pain was associated with time spent texting.

Dr. Pace recommends both preventative measures and treatment. Holding our devices up can prevent that forward head posture. Dr. Pace also says treatment can reverse some of the damage done.

"Fix it now. It's much quicker than waiting until the arthritis process sets in and then they have that much more problems and pain,” said Dr. Pace.

For Seversky the improvement is visible in her follow up X-ray just one year later.

"The difference is I'm hyper aware of my posture and I feel like I'm helping the longevity of my spine in the future,” said Seversky.

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