With ever increasing frequency, teenagers suffering neck pain and headaches are being brought into the Orange Chiropractic Centre by their parents. The reason for their ailments? In many cases, these teenagers are diagnosed with "text neck syndrome" … a chronic condition caused by spending an inordinate mount of time looking down at their smartphones and tablets. A condition which until about 10 years ago was not a factor in adolescent neck pain and headaches.
Alarmingly, in two recent presentations, two teenagers (aged 13 and 16), X-rays of their necks revealed a complete reversal of the curve in their neck which, if left untreated, can have serious long term implications on their overall physical health and well-being. Of concern for me as a health practitioner is that in both cases, the parents had previously been told there was nothing wrong with their children because the "scans were within normal limits". Thankfully, the parents knew that there had to be something wrong otherwise their children's headaches would not be present and sought a second opinion.
So let's take a look at what a healthy neck and curve looks like;
Now let's take a look at the distorted shape of the 13 year old.
As you can see, the curve in this young female's neck is the complete opposite of what a normal, healthy cervical curve should be. The curve reversal aka kyphosis, projects the head forward thereby increasing the mechanical loading and stresses on the intervertebral discs and cervical spinal joints. This presentation can lead to early onset of degenerative disc disease and cause disc bulges.
The neck of the 16 year old female also has a complete reversal of the curve.
The early signs and symptoms of having a loss (or even reversal) of curve in your neck can be quite mild; tightness in the neck and shoulders, intermittent headaches, decreased ability to focus and numbness or tingling in the fingers and hands.
Taking an over-the-counter medication can provide short-term relief from the symptoms BUT DOES NOTHING TO ADDRESS THE CAUSE OF YOUR SYMPTOMS. As time goes by, you'll probably find yourself taking the medication in greater dosages and more frequently. If identified early enough, the curve may be able to be restored to normal. This probability decreases with the length of time the curve reduction / reversal has been present.
If you suspect your kids (or even you) have signs of text neck, schedule an assessment with your chiropractor, Dr Mick Cornish for a comprehensive evaluation.
Dr. Mick Cornish first started providing trusted pain relief solutions to the people of Orange in 1998.