text neck Heads Up: How Text Neck Can Lead To More Serious Health Problems

Chiropractor Greg Vanvakaris demonstrating how “text neck” is caused.

STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) — There is fairly good chance that people reading this are doing so on a cell phone. One chiropractor has a message for those folks: look up!

Failing to do so has the potential to lead to what is being called “text neck,” the painful condition caused by the neck strain of constantly looking down at a mobile device or computer.

Norma Vasquez knows the feeling all too well.

“I am on social media constantly just checking, and then it’s ridiculous the time I spent on my phone,” Vasquez tells CBS2 News. “Now, instead of focusing on my studies or anything like that, I’m focusing on the pain I have on my neck or the headache that I have.”

Text neck is affecting old and young alike, especially as children begin using phones and tablets at a younger ages.

It’s not simply a matter of discomfort. It can lead to more serious, long-term problems, says Greg Vanvakaris.

“A head’s about eight to ten pounds. When we go to flexion like this, it creates 40 pounds of stress,” Vanvakaris says, craning the neck on a model spine.

As a practicing chiropractor, Vanvakaris says, “I see a lot of headaches and a lot of people who are exhausted.” He says the latter is due to the lack of oxygen a person gets in that position.

Vanvakaris says this also leads to changes in sleep patterns, the ability to focus and, on occasion, depression. Premature arthritis and changes in vision are also things to consider.

He says stretching out the chest and neck can help alleviate that stress, but that ultimately, simply looking up and holding devices at eye level can is good preventative measure.

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