Dr. Foster: Hi, my name is Dr. Julie Foster and I am a chiropractor. So, “text neck” is really a syndrome which just means it’s a group of symptoms that we’ve developed specifically from the way that we hold our media devices, specifically our cell phones. The symptoms can vary from person to person but it’s really common to find patients who complain of neck pain for sure, shoulder pain, headaches, tension, and definitely difficulty in the way that they’re able to turn their heads. When you keep leaning your head forward, we pull it out of that natural position. Normally, everyone’s head weights 10-12 pounds, depending on how smart you are, but the further you go away from your body, the more force that your head applies to your neck. So, as i pitch more and more forward, my head becomes literally heavier, up to weights like two and three, maybe six times it’s weight, so it’s significant strain over a long period of time.
Candice: I’m Candice.
Jarrett: I’m Jarrett.
Henry: My name is Henry.
Henry: I’m an awesome texter.
Jarrett: I probably spend like six hours a day at the computer like this.
Candice: I’m really worried that I’m going to develop an “old people hump”, which is a very scientific term [laughs]. I’ve noticed in pictures that my shoulders are forward and they’re not nice and pulled back, even if it feels like they are.
Henry: I definitely have bad problems in, like, posture problems. I’m not activating my core enough even though I think about it. It’s like you’re talking to a smoker and it’s just like, ‘Oh do you think the reason why you’re short of breath is because you smoke all the time?’ ‘Yeah, probably, I’m not a doctor, I don’t have an X-ray of my lungs in front of me or the medical expertise to make that call, but if I had to guess: yes.’ The answer is yes, I probably do have text neck.[Dr. Foster begins examining Candice] Dr. Foster: One of the first things I look at is to see where people’s shoulders line up in relation to their body. You can see that her shoulders are pushing forward or pulling forward. So, what we’d really like to see is those shoulders to be set back here, and look how that immediately kind of opens up her chest. When I pull your shoulders back, is there a little less tension on your neck?
Dr. Foster: It’s a miracle.
Candice: I feel more ladylike [laughs].
Dr. Foster: She looks more ladylike [laughs].[Dr. Foster begins examining Jarrett] Dr. Foster: Nice and easy. He looks comfortable, doesn’t he? He looks really, really comfortable right now. Are you comfortable?
Jarrett: No [laughs].
Dr. Foster: Not at all. He’s not at all.[Dr. Foster begins examining Henry] Dr. Foster: He looks pretty darn good to me. I might pull him back just a bit. See how just that little bit of adjustment brings his ears a little bit closer in line. I think, over time, he’d have to pay attention to that but he could certainly make that adjustment and give himself a little bit less pressure here. But it’s easy when you’re standing here and a doctor is poking at you.
Dr. Foster: Computers, cell phones – these things aren’t going anywhere. So, to kind of blindly put it aside and say that you shouldn’t use your cell phone as much or you shouldn’t use your computer as much really doesn’t deal with the issue. It’s up to each person individually to become more mindful about their bodies. One of the thing that happens with technology is it allows us to disconnect from other things like people, places, or even ourselves, but your health is based on your connection to you. So, absolutely use your cell phones – stay connected to BuzzFeed, but for all intents and purposes, please lift your phone up. Lift your eyes up. Listen to your body. Pull your shoulders back. Breathe deeply. All of these things help you keep your posture in mind.