The Consequences of “Text Neck”

A guest post written by Drs. Matt & Jessica Thompson

text neckWith the proliferation of smartphones, Text Neck is quickly becoming an epidemic in modern society. Text Neck refers to the neck pain one experiences after prolonged use of a smartphone, tablet, or other device. While this pain might appear to be just a minor nuisance, over time it can lead to serious consequences.

The body enjoys having a natural spinal curve, which is achieved when the head is in the neutral position. The average human head weighs about 12 pounds; when looking down 15 degrees the weight carried by the neck increases to 20 pounds. Looking down 30 degrees translates to 40 pounds, and at 45 degrees (the most common texting position) the head weighs around 50-60 pounds. Imagine spending all day with five or six ten-pound weights around your neck and all that texting suddenly doesn’t sound so appealing. Recent research suggests that the average smartphone user spends between 2 and 4 hours looking down each day — that’s an average of 700-1400 hours of excess stress on the spine, which reduces, and in extreme cases, reverses the spinal curves!

Don’t be fooled by the cutesy name either; Text Neck can have dire consequences if people aren’t careful. Repeated stress on the neck can actually start to change one’s body for the worse. These changes include pressure on the brainstem, spinal cord and nerve system, organ dysfunction, degenerative disks, reduced lung capacity, chronic joint pain, increased aging, and bone spur formations to name a few. These effects might not come out in younger users until a couple decades from now, assuming they don’t change their habits. Younger users sometimes express the damage done by Text Neck through a weakened immune system, attention problems, hyperactivity, irritability, excessive crying, and changes in sleep.

A recent news report provided a case study of a 13 year-old softball player who has already begun to experience the negative effects of Text Neck. She acknowledges that sometimes her lower back is not as flexible or arches. It’s worth it to note that she says she never thought it would happen to her since she is active, but let this be a warning: enough spinal stress can have negative effects on anyone!

However, despite these nasty effects, there are 5 very simple things everyone can do to save a life time of injury and dysfunction. First, take frequent breaks from looking at your device; every fifteen minutes is best. Second, take this time to balance your posture with exercises such as the Hummingbird. Standing, put your arms above your head, like you’re signaling a field goal. Lower your elbows to your side, level with your shoulders. Make circles forward or backward, of varying sizes, squeezing your shoulder blades together to engage the postural muscles for 30 seconds. Third, take a natural anti-inflammatory, such as a clean quality omega-3 fish oil. The constant strain caused by text neck on the ligaments, muscles, tendons, spinal nerves, brainstem and spinal cord creates chronic inflammation in those tissues. Omega-3 fish oil will reduce swelling and kickstart the healing process. Fourth, see a Chiropractor who is trained to address the natural spinal curves. Text neck, and other poor postures, reduce the natural spinal curves, stretching and putting pressure on the brainstem, spinal cord and nerve system. Specific & scientific chiropractic adjustment protocols can restore the natural curves, taking pressure off these vital structures. Fifth, use a cervical traction kit daily for your “homework”. These portable, at-home devices are used in conjunction with corrective chiropractic care to retrain the curve in the neck that has been damaged by Text Neck.

While these measures may seem bothersome and unnecessary, they will be saving you from potential disaster in the future! The biggest spinal curve improvement we’ve seen in our office is from a (-) 23 degree curve to an ideal (+) 43 degrees in a 27 year old female. Along the way, she was able to stop taking 7 medications for chronic pain and fibromyalgia, ski and hike again, and start her own business.

Although Dr. Matt & Dr. Jessica Thompson, of 100% Chiropractic in Highlands Ranch, CO, come from a line of Chiropractors, boasting 60 total, their true passion for health comes from the life-changes experiences they’ve witnessed with their patients. After meeting, getting married, and having their first of two sons at Life University, they practiced in MI with family for five years before moving to Colorado in 2012 to start the practice of their dreams. Dr. Matt & Dr. Jessica specialize in pediatric and family wellness. Visit them at:

Essential Cancer Prevention Tips for Men

Cancer. Just the name sparks fear in the hearts of men all around the world. Whether you’re talking about lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, or any of the other numerous forms, cancer is frightening and too often deadly. However, it doesn’t have to get you. While genetic predisposition certainly plays a role in whether you develop cancer or not, there are numerous things that you can do to prevent it.

  1. Stop Using Tobacco

If there is one absolutely must-do step you can take to prevent cancer, it’s kicking tobacco out of your life. Tobacco in any form (including cigarettes, cigars, pipes and chewing tobacco) is a cancer causing substance. Lung, throat, and mouth cancer are just for starters. If you can’t quit smoking, consider switching to an electronic cigarette or other smoking substitute (although be aware: e-cigs have plenty of health risks too). It’s not the nicotine that will kill you. It’s the tobacco.

  1. Take Steps to Prevent Cancer-Contributing Infections

CANCERCancer doesn’t come only from radiation and smoking. In fact, a number of infections can actually contribute to the likelihood that you’ll develop cancer. HIV, hepatitis, and HPV are just three of the viruses that may increase your chances of also developing cancer.

  1. Watch What You Eat

What you eat is important for energy, health, and weight considerations, but it’s also important for cancer prevention. A number of foods can make you more susceptible to cancer, including grilled meats, red meat, and salty foods. By extension, anything that adds pounds to your frame could also be considered a cancer encourager, since being obese also increases your cancer risk.  If you’re overweight or obese, take steps to shed those pounds now.

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Caffeine May Boost ED In Men

A new study suggests that drinking a few cups of coffee each day could lower a man’s risk for erectile dysfunction. Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston found that men who drank at least two cups of coffee each day had a 42 percent reduction in erectile dysfunction problems. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

About 18.4 percent of men in the United States who are 20 years old and older suffer from erectile dysfunction. This suggests that more than 18 million men are affected by the condition. Additionally, more than 85 percent of adults consume caffeinated beverages.

I Heart CoffeeThe study involved 3,724 men over the age of 20. They all too part in a survey called the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and were questioned about their consumption of caffeine as well as whether they suffered from erectile dysfunction. The researchers collected data regarding the amount of tea, coffee, and other highly caffeinated beverages such as soda and sports drinks, that they drank on average per day.

The results showed that men who drank 85 to 170 milligrams of caffeine a day were 42 percent less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction problems. In addition, men who drank 171 to 303 milligrams of caffeine each day were 39 percent less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction problems. This was in comparison to men who drank 0 to 7 milligrams of caffeine per day. [Read more…]

Culture and Health Behavior

As a robust young man and future health professional, I lead a healthy life by maintaining a healthy body weight in order to minimize my risk of getting certain diseases in the future. There are a myriad of reasons that can explain why some people engage in risky health behaviors, and culture is one of the most influential ones.

First, what do I mean by lifestyle choices?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  explains that people “establish patterns of behavior and make lifestyle choices that affect both their current and future health.” These behavior patterns that are established have positive or negative effects on health. For example, a person who regularly consumes a high sodium/fat diet and does not exercise will become more susceptible to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other related diseases. On the contrary, making a daily effort to engage in physical activities and eating a healthy diet will reduce one’s susceptibility to chronic diseases.

Second, what relation is there between culture and behaviors with respect to certain health conditions? [Read more…]

Volunteering: It’s Not Just About You Anymore

via flickr

via flickr

Dear Mr. Dad: I have to admit that my wife and I have been a bit self-centered in our adult lives, focusing on our work, earning money, and supporting the family. We’ve done quite well financially and we’ve both decided that we should start giving something back to our community. We want to get our kids involved too, but they’re pretty young—only 5 and 7. Honestly, I don’t even know where to start. Are the kids too young? And what’s the best way get going?

A: Your kids are definitely not too young to volunteer in their community. In fact, there’s no such thing as too young. Plenty of people bring babies to visit nursing-home residents or shut-ins, and preschoolers and early elementary school kids often go on field trips to the same places to sing holiday songs , put on a play, or just draw pictures. Bringing a smile to the face of people who don’t have a lot of joy in their lives is a wonderful gift. Middle schoolers can volunteer to read to a blind person or tutor kids their own age in reading and math. Teens can coach inner-city sports teams or build houses with Habitat for Humanity. Ideally, volunteering is a selfless act—you do it to help someone else, not because you’ll profit from it. But thinking way into the future, volunteer work looks very good on college and job applications.

Doing things as simple as serving meals at a local homeless shelter (or, when the kids are older, delivering meals on wheels) shows your children that you’re walking the walk instead of just talking the talk. Of course volunteering often gives kids some insight into just how lucky they are. It can also provide opportunities for them to learn about problem solving and cooperation, hone new skills, and discover talents, interests, and skills they never know they had. Perhaps most importantly, it teaches them to be more tolerant of people they might never come in contact otherwise—people from different cultures, ethnicities, education levels, and socio-economic status. At the end of a day (or even just a few hours) of volunteering, you’ll discover that your family has benefitted as much as your community has—though in very different ways.

As you consider which of the millions of opportunities to get your family involved in, here are a few ideas to keep in mind:

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