Text Neck: How Does It Come About?

As the world becomes increasingly dependent on the internet, smartphone usage becomes one of the most defining factors in technological progress. For the past few years, there has been a gradual rise in the percentage of people who owns a smartphone. Based on a study, there were approximately 14.5 million smartphone users in Malaysia. This number is expected to grow to 20 million in 2020.

With this rise in smartphone usage, we are also starting to see more people present to the clinic with “text neck”. Text neck is a modern age term coined by US Chiropractor Dr. DL Fishman to describe repeated stress injury and neck pain resulting from excessive watching or texting on handheld devices over a sustained period of time.

Flexing the head forward to use a smartphone directly affects the spine. The human head weights about 5.5kg (12 pounds), as our head moves forward, its weight on the neck increases. At a 15 degree angle, the weight is about 12.2kg (27 pounds), at 30 degrees it’s 18kg (40 pounds) and at 60 degrees it’s 27.2kg (60 pounds). This is the concern that comes with staring at a smartphone at the wrong angle every day.

The Journal of Physical Therapy Science published a study on the break down of what happens to the body of individuals diagnosed with forward head posture.

  • Muscles and joints at the front of the neck becomes weak, while the muscles in the upper back and shoulders get really tight.
  • The center of gravity of the head shifts forward, increasing the load on the neck. This can subsequently result in musculoskeletal, neural and vascular system dysfunction.
  • The changes that occur with text neck can lead to continual and abnormal pressure in the muscles, ligaments, and nerves of the neck and shoulders. Leading to rounded shoulders and herniated discs. Herniated discs may arise due to compensation, which results in higher load being placed on the back and shoulder muscles.
  • When all of these changes are combined, an individual will eventually end up with “tension neck syndrome”- symptoms of this condition is similar to tension headache.

Text neck (forward head posture) doesn’t just affect the neck and shoulders, the center of gravity of the entire body is also altered, this affects the trunk and every joint in the body. The body will adapt to these positional changes by altering the balance control mechanisms of the body, decreasing our ability to balance when engaging in different activities throughout the day, this increases the risk of injury.

Regardless of the causes of “text neck”, one thing for sure is that this problem is not going away any time soon. Therefore, healthcare professionals are raising more awareness and empower our patients to make the necessary changes to preserve and enhance optimal function.

Feel free to contact us at contact@myhealthworks.com.my or give us a call at 03-62117533 for further enquiries. Our chiropractors and physiotherapist will be more than willing to help you get out of this all too common trap.

Text Neck: How Does It Come About?2019-12-10T12:24:31+08:00

Early Development of Core Muscle In Infants

Parents of children with movement difficulties are often told by doctors and physiotherapists that their child has “weak core muscles” and are told to let their child exercise to strengthen those muscles. Just as a tree needs a strong trunk to be able to hold its branches up and withstand elements in its environment, a child requires a strong core to participate in life’s daily activities efficiently. Essentially, core strength or postural control, is both the anchor and launching pad for everything that we do. If a child does not have a strong core, it will affect their neck position, upper back, lower back and lower limb position.

What are core muscles?

The term “core” muscles refers to the trunk muscles that work to hold trunk erect and steady the upper and lower limbs move. The core muscles include the deep spinal extensor muscles as well as the transverse and diagonal abdominal muscles. The neck muscles also play an important role in maintaining a steady and stable head posture. The muscles need to work together in a coordinated manner to keep the head and trunk steady when moving the arms and legs.

Importance of core muscle strength in infants

With no postural control, motor movements are impossible. Postural control is the foundation where other skills are developed. Posture must be stable to allow movements of the extremities such as arms and legs, enabling the baby to complete complex activities such as looking left and right, forward reaching and rolling back and forth. It is important for baby to get as much tummy time as possible, as this is where they begin to develop and strengthen their core and postural muscles. They are then expected to begin to reach for items, developing their core muscles helps them to use their arms and hands to reach and grasp. The next step of development is beginning to roll from their back to their stomach, using those core and postural muscles to assist. They then need to use those muscles to sit independently and hold their weight and heads against gravity, stabilising those muscles.

Posture is important for participation in all aspect of life, like development of child’s attention, focus, respiration and movement patterns, it is essential to be developed. New parents can take advantage of incidental tummy time in holding your baby on your forearm when carrying, having your baby rest on your chest rather than in the cot or carrier

What can be done to improve core muscle strength and stability?

  1. Perform activities in tummy time position
  2. Perform activities in two-point kneeling and half kneeling position
  3. Crawling and creeping
  4. Reach and sit up
  5. Collect object from the floor in kneeling or squatting position
  6. Superman position on the gym ball
  7. Crawling through tunnel
  8. Climbing ladder
  9. Wheelbarrow walking
  10. Play animal walk such as crabs, frogs, bear and kangaroo
  11. Elbow plank
  12. Encourage the child to try new equipment at the playground such as swings, climbing bar, monkey bar, slides and poles.

When beginning core strengthening exercise/activities, start with just a few at time; find some that your child loves to engage in. As time progresses, you should see your child starting to develop self-confidence and endurance. At this point, you can begin adding new exercises.

Here in Healthworks, our physiotherapist will perform a thorough assessment for your child and design a comprehensive exercise based on his/her abilities. If there are any queries regarding this article, feel free to contact us at 018-9828539/ 03-6211 7533 or drop us an email at contact@myhealthworks.com.my

Early Development of Core Muscle In Infants2020-04-07T10:59:06+08:00
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