BEWARE: Will your smartphone trigger this painful condition?

Does your neck hurt? There’s a good chance it does…

In a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, nearly 20 percent of people experienced neck pain over the course of three months. And that percentage is likely to climb much higher due to a condition that’s become increasingly prevalent over the past decade or so.

I’m talking about a self-explanatory condition, aptly named “text neck.”

As you might have guessed, text neck (also known as “tech neck”) refers to the neck pain caused by constantly looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or laptop.

But neck pain is just the beginning. Text neck can nosedive into progressively worsening problems like:

  • Neck ligament inflammation
  • Nerve irritation
  • Curvature of the spine
  • Kyphosis (the forward rounding, or “hunching” of the spine)

The simple way to correct this reminds me of an old Henny Youngman joke:

I said, “Doc, it hurts when I do this.”
He said, “Don’t do that.”

The correct way to look at your device

Instead of looking down at your device, lift it up so that it’s eye-level.

Your head should be positioned to look straight forward, with your ears parallel to your shoulder blades.

This can significantly help ease any neck pain since your neck muscles will no longer have to strain to hold the weight of your head.

A simple posture modification should alleviate that particular source of neck pain.

But there are many other neck pain triggers. And fortunately, there are just as many effective ways to achieve pain relief. But there are also some methods you should completely steer clear of…

Underestimating OTC drug dangers

For instance, if you consult the Cleveland Clinic website for ways to alleviate neck pain, they offer the following tips:

  • Apply ice followed by heat
  • Slowly move your head side-to-side, back-and-forth, and in a circle to gently stretch your neck muscles
  • Enjoy a neck massage
  • Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to soothe the pain

That last recommendation, however, is one you should completely ignore.

Acetaminophen (most commonly known as Tylenol®) overuse is the leading cause of liver failure. And most people are unaware that the FDA has long cautioned that NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), like ibuprofen, increase risk of heart attack and stroke. And the risks rise with extended use and higher doses.

In Dr. Fred Pescatore’s Pain-Free Life Protocol, he cites a neck pain study that offers two excellent alternatives to over-the-counter drugs: chiropractic manipulation and therapeutic exercises.

Safe, alternative therapies just as effective as drugs

Researchers at Minnesota’s Northwestern Health Sciences University monitored the progress of more than 370 people who sought neck pain relief at two Minneapolis clinics. They randomly split the patients into 3 groups to receive one of the following:

  • Chiropractic neck manipulation
  • Instruction on simple home exercises designed to relieve neck pain
  • Pain medication (NSAIDs, acetaminophen, or a combination of both)

Dr. Pescatore shares the results: “Compared to medication, chiropractic treatment produced better results, providing patients with short- and long-term pain relief. Also, the home exercise program turned out to be nearly as effective as the chiropractor.”

Acupuncture is another ideal non-drug neck pain treatment — and as anyone who’s tried it will tell you, it also happens to be quite relaxing.

Dr. Pescatore cites a recent neck pain study in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine. Researchers found that acupuncture was just as effective as conventional medicine in relieving chronic neck pain. Even better, when acupuncture was given along with conventional medicine, pain relief was far greater than the medication alone.

In another study, researchers analyzed several clinical trials that tested yoga on chronic neck pain. The results spelled relief:

  • Pain intensity was reduced by nearly 30 percent
  • Disability was reduced by 44 percent
  • Quality of life scores improved by 57 percent

In a trial published in the Journal of Rehabilitative Medicine, the pain relieving effects of yoga were studied — in addition to Pilates (a form of exercise comprised of low impact movements for strength and flexibility) and isometric exercise (the static contraction of specific muscle groups, like planks and wall sits).

Dr. Pescatore describes the results: “Researchers studied 56 people with chronic neck pain — teaching them either Pilates, yoga, or isometric exercises. After just six weeks, all three groups had significant decreases in neck pain, disability and depression.”

Tape it up!

Lastly, Dr. Pescatore highlights another less conventional neck pain relief method that’s only been around for about 40 years.

It’s called kinesiology tape, which is an elastic, adhesive healing tape you might have seen athletes using. Dr. Pescatore explains how this unique method works: “It lifts the skin over an area of injury or pain, boosting the flow of blood and lymph, and reducing inflammation. It also supports and stabilizes muscles and joints.”

And of course, this method has received its share of research. In a study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, neck pain patients who used kinesiology tape for four weeks had significantly more pain relief than people who used exercises designed to relieve neck pain.

Dr. Pescatore adds that many natural health professionals — including physical therapists, athletic trainers, massage therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, nurses, and acupuncturists — are trained in the use of kinesiology tape to address a wide range of pain issues.

These are just a few of the alternative approaches that Dr. Pescatore details for neck pain relief in his Pain-Free Life Protocol. Click here to learn more about how you can enjoy a pain-free life to the fullest — or get started today.

SOURCES

“Text Neck” Physio Works, 6/25/19. (physioworks.com.au/injuries-conditions-1/text-neck)

“Do You Have a Stiff Neck? Try These Simple Remedies” Cleveland Clinic, 5/18/19. (health.clevelandclinic.org/do-you-have-a-stiff-neck-try-these-simple-remedies/)

“FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA strengthens warning that non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause heart attacks or strokes” FDA, 7/9/19. (fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm451800.htm)