By now, you have probably heard some of the stories about people walking off cliffs or out into busy streets while playing Pokemon Go. One person reported breaking a bone in his foot after falling in a ditch within 30 minutes of the game being released to the public. All of this to catch some virtual creatures. I can’t judge though; I’ve spent my fair share of time in the emergency room after doing something dumb.
These stories show us how dangerous it can be to keep your face in your phone and not pay attention to your surroundings. However, they fail to show the long term side effects associated with staring at your phone all day.
Let me explain:
When looking at a spine from the side, there are some regular curves that you should see. Your neck for example, should have a backwards curve like in this picture.
This curve is here for a reason. It allows for proper movement, provides a cushion for your head and brain, and allows for your nerves to function properly. Of these, the most important is the function of your nerves. Your spinal cord is housed inside of your backbone and gives off little nerves that exit between each bone. These nerves consist of thousands and thousands of nerve fibers that are very important to your health and they all send messages from your brain to your body. About 10% of these fibers are responsible for movement, another 10% for feeling pain, and the remaining 80% are responsible for maintaining the function of all your organs. This includes your heart, lungs, digestive system, kidneys, and reproductive organs!!! Could you imagine what could happen if some of these fibers going to your heart or lungs got “pinched off”?!?!
How could that happen?
One thing Chiropractors and other healthcare providers are seeing more and more often is what many have termed as “Text Neck”. (Note: this issue has existed since before texting existed. However, it has become much more prevalent since texting started.) If you look at the x-ray on the left, you’ll notice the lack of a proper [cervical] curve like in the first photo. And if you look at the x-ray on the right, you’ll see how it’s actually REVERSED when you’re looking at your phone.
"Text Neck" occurs when a person is constantly looking down at something like a tablet or phone. Something that is common while playing Pokemon Go. Over time, your body adapts to your head tilting forward all the time and this reversed cervical curve becomes your new normal. This can have major effects on your health long term. Many things happen during this transformation. Check out a demonstration of this HERE.
1.) Your head tilts further forward and doesn’t sit directly over your shoulders as it should.
2.) The muscles in your neck have to work harder to hold your head up because of its new position. This causes tight muscles, cramps, and even headaches.
3.) The front side of your neck bones start to grow extra bone to try and stabilize your new head position. At the same time, the cushions between your neck bones start to degenerate. These two things together are called arthritis. People are starting to get ARTHRITIS in the NECK as young as the age of 20 now.
4.) Your spinal cord and nerves start to become constricted which causes interference. This cuts off the communication between your brain and body. This results in dysfunction of your body parts and organs.
I’m not telling you to stop playing Pokemon Go or to stop using your cell phone. Live your life and have fun. Just know that these issue are real and they are something to think about. So take yourself a break from your phone and Pokemon Go today. If you spend hours a day on your phone or you think you might have Text Neck or something similar, get it checked out by your Chiropractor. Offices like Agape Family Chiropractic work with issues like Text Neck on a daily basis.