Tech neck–have you heard about it? I think you’ll find the following guest post by Dr Sharonrose Samelak as informative as I did. There are aspects of screen time and its effects on children that I don’t think many parents are aware of and will be grateful to know about!
The next time you are out to dinner, riding the bus, or in the waiting room at your doctor’s office, take a look around. Most of the people around you are spending quality time with their best friend: their smartphone or tablet. What’s more, many school age children and toddlers are more familiar with our phones than we are as adults. Let’s face it, sometimes it is easier to hand a toddler a smart phone playing an Elmo video to keep them busy than it is to haul around a lot of toys to entertain them… But what is the toll this takes on our children?
Over the past 5 years in my practice I have noticed an increase in the number of children coming into my Chiropractic office with chief complaints of neck pain and headache, accompanied by forward head posture and rounded shoulders. The common factor with these children and most of the adults I see is screen time.
Tech Neck is becoming a real problem.
The human head weighs an average of 8-13 pounds. With proper posture, that weight is borne by the curves in the spine and there is little stress/strain on the muscles in the neck and upper back. With forward head posture, several physiologic changes occur:
• The curve in the cervical spine (neck) flattens.
• The muscles of the neck and upper back have to work harder to hold up the head, which has an
increased theoretic weight according to physics.
• Breathing and respiration becomes localized to the chest because the diaphragm cannot draw
down for proper abdominal breathing. (We are forced into fight or flight breathing patterns.)
• Our cardiac function is compromised in this posture.
• And more…
By the time smart phone posture is assumed, up to 60 pounds of pressure can be placed upon the
cervical spine. This is, “like holding six bowling balls in your hands for one hour, which is the average time one can have their head buried in their handheld devices.” 
At first, when you/your child put(s) a device down, the head can come easily back over the shoulders and posture returns to normal. However, the more time spent on a device, the harder it is to return to normal. The changes become more lasting and turn into a chronic problem.
In fact, according to a 2017 article :
—–Most times, children and adolescents do not know they could be doing serious long-
—–term damage to their body because the short-term effects are not as noticeable. It is
—–only later in life that the effects can seriously affect the quality of life. This increases
—–fears that younger people, who are society’s biggest users of smart phones and tablets,
—–could be facing a future of pain and disability, or even taking years off their life
Our addiction to technology is beginning to impact our personal health and the health of our
All is not lost! While our society seems to pivot around a social media and technology axis, there
are simple things that we, as individuals and families, can implement to minimize its impact.
• Put down the phone and pick up a game!
• Go outside to play
• No phones/technology at the dinner table/meal times
• Tech-Free weekends
• Set time limits on tech usage
• See your Family Wellness Chiropractor for a posture check!
—–o Family Wellness Chiropractors can evaluate the spine to determine what postural changes have occurred and form an effective plan to correct these changes in a gentle, effective way.
Above all, it is important to set down the phone, back away from the device, and start spending
more time interacting IRL (In Real Life) with our friends and family.
 http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sfp- tech-neck- putting-kids- at-risk- for-spine- issues-20160711-
 Musculoskeletal neck pain in children and adolescents: Risk factors and complications, Surg Neurol
Int. 2017; 8: 72.
About the Author:
Dr. Sharonrose Samelak is a Family Wellness Chiropractor in Fremont, Seattle at Seed of Life Chiropractic and Wellness, LLC. She believes that health begins with a well-balanced lifestyle. By combining Chiropractic techniques with the newest information on health, Dr. Samelak is able to provide a unique approach to your family’s journey to wellness. To learn more about Seed of Life and Chiropractic, visit www.SeedOfLifeChiro.com
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