Text-neck; the silent killer of the millennial and future generations.
Our theme for this Spring in the office is Family Focused. Family Focused is also in the text of our logo because it is such a keystone to everything we do in the practice. In 2012 when I went to Life University Chiropractic College I was recruited to play for their national championship caliber rugby team (which we proceeded to win the national championship two years in a row). But the next summer Amy and I got married, and my perspective really changed. I realized I had a bigger calling than rugby; a professional career in Chiropractic, which would serve me, and I it. I also realized I wanted to serve not athletes as I had originally envisioned, but more so families! I honestly feel in love with the idea, and maybe even in an old timey notion kind of way, that taking care of generations of families in my practice would be amazing (and it has been!). Another inspiration for taking care of families was knowing the sad truth, that the pediatric population is under served, and that chiropractic care is underutilized by that population. Neurologically Based Chiropractic Care can be a natural solution to so many childhood conditions, such as ear infections, colic, acid reflux, digestive issues and more!
On top of being under served, another reason I wanted to work with pediatrics, and the reason I chose the techniques I practice (Pierce Results System and N.U.C.C.A.) was because I felt like they had the best forms of analysis and adjusting of the spine for people of all ages. In fact it was Dr. Pierce himself who came up with a system to predict the timeline of trauma or damage to the spine based on the amount of degeneration. Using this system myself I started to see that many of my patients spinal problems had started in their youth!
But it was the research paper I wrote for Dr. Cooper and one of his case studies that got published in a peer reviewed journal (You can read the abstract here if you are interested) that put the proverbial nail in the coffin for me. The focus of the review of literature and discussion was on the loss of cervical cure, in that case it was surgically induced, but what shocked me by looking at so many radiographic studies of individuals during school and early in my practice was how many adolescents and young adults, in particular the millennial generation, had a straight neck aka military neck or complete loss of a cervical lordosis aka a cervical kyphosis. And even worse were the accelerated degenerative changes that occur in these types of necks. Below on the left is the classic example of what an x-ray of this type of neck looks like.
Text-neck aka tech-neck is an unofficial term, but a legitimate epidemic of abnormal structural shifting of the head and neck beyond the normal center of gravity. Most typically there is also a progressive loss in lordosis (the normal forward arcing curve of the neck) into a kyphosis (an abnormal backwards arcing curve of the neck). Pain, muscle tightness, spasms, and fatigue, along with numbness and tingling into the arms and daily headaches are often indicators of this, but just as often as they are, I also find practice members with none of those symptoms and a text-neck or complete loss of cervical lordosis. Especially in kids. The reason being is children use technology as much or more than adults these days, yet their spines have not fully developed allowing for more structural deviation from the norm to occur in a shorter period.
The equation is simple; the number of hours of head down (with the neck in flexion) time is approximately equal to the loss of curve, that or a whiplash type traumatic injury. The tragic thing is the symptoms of this pathology do not come on for years, if not decades. So usually by the time their condition is so poor that they seek help, it is often too late to make a full correction of the condition because of advanced degeneration or arthritis of the spine. Severe arthritis is a sign the damage was done decades ago and typically the deformation of the vertebrae and joints prevents the restoration of the cervical curve (neck). But check this out! If you catch it early, and correct it, you can save the individual from a lifetime of spinal and health problems!
This is exactly why I love what I do and why we love serving families. We often can’t avoid technology, but we can prevent the detrimental effects of it! Besides getting corrective and wellness chiropractic care you should also be doing SPINAL HYGIENE every day. Spinal what?! SPINAL HYGIENE…it is just like to sounds, cleaning or upkeep, like dental hygiene, but focused on keeping the spine healthy day to day. If you have no idea what I am talking about, click here to subscribe to my FREE SPINAL HYGIENE VIDEO SERIES.