When you look down, like most of you reading this, your neck is in flexion. When you look up your neck is in extension. ALL of us spend way more time in flexion than in extension. Phones, desktops, laptops, tablets, books, magazines, cooking, cleaning, driving--- almost everything we do requires us to look down/forward. And guess what?--it’s only going to get worse. Culprit #1-- your cell phone. We’ll have entire generations who have spent a staggering amount of time essentially looking straight down at their hand.
The most common structural issue I see daily is the loss of the normal curve in the neck-- aka Military Neck or Straight Neck. Without the normal cervical curve, the forces on the spine can not be distributed properly. There are many factors at play here including previous traumas, heredity, occupation, gravity and the aforementioned list. A huge part of my work is the promotion and maintenance of cervical extension. Almost every patient needs more extension in their life, and less flexion.
We know that loss of the cervical curve coupled with excessive flexion in daily life can create a large laundry list of complaints. Pain, stiffness, soreness, headaches, and pinched nerves are the most common symptoms reported in this office. Most of the time the restoration of extension and rotation (turning head side to side) helps improve symptoms.
It is important that you be mindful of how much time you spend looking DOWN versus UP.
And now the Text Neck Exercises....
After one minute, gently raise your arms over your head as pictured above. Hold this position for another minute. Return your arms to your side, and gently sit up. Keep in mind you may feel slightly dizzy so move slowly.
I'm here when you need me.
In the meantime, stay well adjusted,
Dr. Dan Kammer