Text Neck – What Is It, How Do You Get It, and How to Find Relief

The frequent use of smartphones, tablets and laptops have become a part of everyday life. Constant use can cause serious spinal health problems if used incorrectly and unfortunately, they are almost always used incorrectly. Forward head posture, and looking down with neck bent forward, leads to the phenomenon known as ‘text neck’. With most people who already suffer from upper back and neck injuries, constant use of technology can quickly become an obstacle to recovery.

Latest studies show 63% of American Adults own a smartphone, 73% of American teens own a smartphone, and 24% of those teens go online almost constantly. Teens are shown to spend on average approximately 5000 hours on their smartphone per year, and about 1400 hours per year by adults. So what do these numbers have to do with your neck?

Incorrect use of these types of technology puts your body in a constant “humpbacked” posture with the neck bent forward and head looking down.This requires the neck to work extremely hard to adapt to the constant weight loading when flexed forward. The heavy weight of your head leaning forward creates massive amount of stress on the neck and upper back. In fact, approximately every 15 degrees of neck flexion adds an extra 10-12 lbs of stress to the spine. This continued stress on the neck is what leads to the condition ‘text neck’.

Symptoms produced by ‘text neck’ and overuse of handheld technology include the following:

– neck and shoulder pain

– chronic headaches

– shortness of breath

– numbness in the arms

– neurological issues

4 TIPS TO AVOID TEXT NECK:

  1. Make an effort to stay in a neutral position so that your ears are aligned with your shoulders.
  2. Simply hold your phone in front of your face while keeping your back straight rather than looking down at it.
  3. If you look down at your device do it with your eyes. No need to bend your neck.
  4. Avoid spending hours each day hunched over and remember to take frequent breaks.

 

RELIEF EXERCIES:

  1. Move your head from left to right several times – incorporate both rotation and side bending.
  2. Use your hands to provide resistance and push your head against them, first forward and then backward.
  3. Stand in a doorway with your arms extended and push your chest forward to strengthen the muscles of good posture.

 

If you find yourself using these exercises for two weeks or more and have gotten little to no change in your pain or discomfort, you should seek further help from an expert.  Lingering symptoms will require treatment in most cases.  Adhesion is the most common result of text neck, which is a result of overuse and prolonged position.


At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion!  If you, or someone you know, find yourself in a continuous need to stretch, feeling “tight,”or struggling to get out of pain, you deserve a solution to your problem!  Call our office today at 319-423-0925 or request an appointment below!

Appointment Request

Cedar Rapids Neck and Upper Back Pain Treatment

Neck pain is a common ailment that will affect 50-70% of the population at some point in their lifetime. Neck pain is commonly caused by repetitive strain and overuse – think sitting at a desk, looking at our phones, etc. Finding the correct cause of your neck and upper back pain are often times misdiagnosed and mistreated and here’s why.

At the base of your skull lie 6 tiny muscles.  These muscles are known as the suboccipitals.  These muscles are frequently beat up from our modern day lifestyle.  As a result, these small muscles will develop adhesion and become restricted.  More on that in a bit.  When these muscles have adhesion, they shorten and will extend the head, like in the picture below.

neck-ext
Of course, no one walks around like this because your body is really good at compensating! Because of the neck wanting to be in extension, the body will compensate by carrying the head more forward, like the picture below.  This places a TON of extra stress and strain in the upper back and neck.  Every inch forward, DOUBLES the weight of the head!
forward-head-posture

This is why your upper back hurts and is always “tight.”

Most providers unfortunately don’t understand this. Treatments like adjustments, taping, stretching, and exercise may help in the short term, but do nothing to resolve the original issue!

Adhesion, as previously mentioned, acts like glue on the muscles.  It is the most common cause of restricted motion and pain in the body.  Unfortunately, it is one of the most misdiagnosed conditions! Neck and upper back pain are frequently caused by adhesion found in the muscles at the base of your skull. Proper treatment reduces the adhesion within those muscles, and in turn allows the neck to function properly; taking stress away from the lower neck and upper back and restoring healthier posture. 

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The doctors at Thrive Spine and Sport are experts at finding and fixing adhesion!  Currently, they are 2 of only 4 providers in the state of Iowa certified through Integrative Diagnosis – the most advanced conservative health care system – for the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion.  If you or someone you know is suffering with constant neck and upper back pain, call our office today at 319-423-0925 or schedule an appointment by clicking here.

Neck Pain Treatment in Cedar Rapids

For some of us who sit at the computer all day, neck pain and other problems can be pretty common. Naturally, our body will tend to slouch toward our computer screen, paperwork, or phone, as the day goes on. Posture suffers with repetitive stain and the neck muscles are forced to work harder than they were designed to.

Cumulative trauma disorders (CMD), and repetitive strain are the leading cause of pain and work related injuries. Neck pain, carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, even shoulder impingement are just some of disorders most likely to develop in office settings. These are all caused from overuse!

While the previously mentioned conditions are common in the work place, very people actually find permanent relief from their problem. Stretching, exercise, even adjustments have given some relief in the past. Most find these treatments to provide only temporary relief. Others opt for constant medication. As common as these problems are, why are they so difficult to fix?

Adhesion is something you probably haven’t heard of before. Adhesion is the result of overuse and develops in the muscles, ligaments, and around nerves of the body. It is the most common, most misdiagnosed, and mistreated condition in the human body! The good news? It can be easily reversible if your provider knows how to fix it!

Fixing adhesion helps to restore proper movement and functionality to your body. Not only does flexibility and strength increase as a result of fixing adhesion but it can also help to reduce the amount of arthritic and degenerative changes as we age. Symptoms of adhesion can range from dull achy pain to tingling, burning, numbness into the extremities.

If you or someone you know are currently suffering with neck or shoulder pain in Cedar Rapids or Iowa City, and are struggling to find relief, let the experts at Thrive Spine and Sport help! Our treatment fixes adhesion! Currently, we are 1 of only 3 offices in the state of Iowa certified to do so. Get to the bottom of your pain today by calling our office at 319-423-0925 or schedule an appointment online here.

Concussions

Over the last few years, around this time of year, concussions have become a major topic of interest.  More and more research is coming to light about just how dangerous concussions really are.  While much of the focus has been done to better diagnose and prevent concussions (which needs to happen), very little has been done in the advancement of treatment.

Rest remains the most appropriate way to allow your brain to recover from a concussion, but what happens when symptoms remain even after weeks and months of rest?

Concussions are a brain injury.  Currently, there are 8 factors used to diagnose concussions.  In order to be diagnosed with a concussion, you only need to experience 3 out of the 8 factors.  Headaches, dizziness, changes in mood, sleep, concentration, personality, irritability, not managing stress, are all on the list.  Surprisingly, neck pain didn’t make the list!

As mentioned previously, concussions are a brain injury, but you can’t get a brain injury without neck (cervical) trauma.  Alarmingly, the spine is rarely evaluated!  What should, and needs to happen, is to find out how much influence the cervical trauma is playing in post-concussive symptoms.  While neck symptoms don’t need to be present, presence of neck pain and symptoms will delay recovery from concussion injuries.

The suboccipital muscles are a group of 6 muscles that attach to the top of the skull and neck.  Some of these muscles attach directly to the spinal cord. These are the most commonly injured structures with any neck and head trauma. Injury to these muscles can directly cause and increase concussion symptoms.  As a result of trauma to the head and neck, adhesion is most likely to appear in these muscles.

As a consequence, adhesion decreases flexibility and pain.  Adhesion in the suboccipital muscles can cause a variety of symptoms including, headaches and neck pain. It can be easily fixed by an expert trained to diagnose and treat this injury.  The only way to know if you have adhesion present is to be evaluated by one of these experts.

Concussions are always individual and each person recovers at a different pace.  If you have recently had, or been struggling with post-concussive symptoms it is vital to know how much of your injury is due to the brain, and how much is due to the cervical trauma!

While most of the recovery and treatment of concussions need to be focused around rest and managing activities, those that still suffer with symptoms weeks and months after need other solutions!  Otherwise, these symptoms can persist years down the road.  Concussions are always multifactorial, changes in diet and psychiatry may also help, but negating to treat the musculoskeletal component of the injury can be a huge mistake!

You owe it to yourself to explore all avenues of treatment to fully recover from injury and prevent long term damage!

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Integrative Diagnosis providers are musculoskeletal experts trained in the evaluation and treatment of neck pain and injury.  If you are fortunate enough to have an Integrative Diagnosis provider in your area, they can help with the recovery and treatment of concussions.  Use this link to find a provider near you => PROVIDERS

If you live in or around the Cedar Rapids area, let the experts at Thrive Spine and Sport help!  If you or someone you know are struggling to recover from a concussion we encourage you to call our office today at 319-423-0925 or schedule an appointment at www.thrivespineandsport.com/appointment-request/.

Thanks for reading!

6 Questions To Solve Your Neck or Back Pain

If you’re reading this, you most likely suffer from some sort of chronic low back or neck pain.  Ask yourself these following questions:

  1. Is your pain worse in the morning?
  2. Does the pain get better after waking up and moving around?
  3. Have you had multiple or previous episodes of moderate to severe pain?
  4. Does the pain usually last 2-10 days before going away?
  5. Trouble sitting or standing prolonged periods of time?
  6. Are movements “guarded/protected” or noticing decreased range of motion?

 

If you answered “yes” to a majority or all of these questions, you most likely are suffering from a disc injury whether you have been diagnosed with it or not.  Internal Disc Derangement (IDD) accounts for upwards of 40% of all low back pain and a majority of neck pain!

Disc injuries are often made worse by the presence of adhesion.  Adhesion is the most common cause of pain and decreased range of motion in the body.  Adhesion acts like glue on muscles to restrict movement.  Restricted motion causes more load on injured discs, leading to more pain and long term problems.

The good news is that a large majority of disc injuries do not require surgery!  Disc injuries respond well to conservative management and treatment.  By fixing and removing adhesion, discs are essentially “decompressed” and unloaded.  You are left in little to no pain and able to return to regular, daily activity.

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are certified through Integrative Diagnosis for the diagnosis and treatment adhesion.  Our treatment has helped many people looking for answers to their pain.  We have helped patients prevent surgery and those still suffering with pain after surgery.  If you answered “yes” to most or all of the questions above, chances are we can help!  Call our office today at 319-423-0925.

Make It Stop! Find Relief!

Staring at the computer desk, it strikes again.  Maybe your head feels like it’s stuck in a vice.  You need relief!

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am talking about headaches!

Here is what we know about headaches:

  • 47% of the general population will have AT LEAST one headache this year.
  • 1 in 20 of the general population will have a headache 15 days or more this month!
  • Headaches have been underestimated, under recognized, and under-treated throughout the world
  • Only half of people diagnosed with headache disorders have seen a doctor and only two-thirds have been properly diagnosed!
  • Most common treatment of headaches are over the counter medicine.

So not only are people who have headaches not getting care, the ones who are seeking help are being misdiagnosed and mistreated!  This is a very bad situation to be in if you suffer from headaches!

There are many different types of headaches with a wide variety of symptoms – tension, pounding, fogginess, vice-like pain that constantly returns.  There is a solution to the problem you just need the right diagnosis!

The stats confirm that most people with headaches either self treat with over the counter medication thinking that will solve their problem, or that their headaches are something they just can’t fix.  Seeking medical helps for some, but what happens to the third that’s misdiagnosed?

An overwhelming majority (~70%) of headaches are tension headaches.  The WHO (World Health Organization) identifies the problem as either stress or musculoskeletal problems in the neck.  Most will feel tension or stiffness in the base of the skull or neck.  Medication may provide some relief, but not fix these headaches.

Unfortunately, our modern day lifestyle has led to a pandemic of poor posture and increased stress on our neck.  Think about it.  How much time do you spend in a day looking down at your computer screen or phone.  This sustained contraction and posture wreaks havoc on the muscles of your neck.  Overtime this leads to formation of adhesion – the most common, most misdiagnosed, and mistreated condition in the human body.  Adhesion in the neck gradually leads to even worse posture, decreased posture, pain, and, yes, headaches!

Adhesion

 

So how do you know if you have adhesion?  The good news is that there is a very simple test that you can do to find out!  Just watch the video below.

 

If, after watching this video, you found any part of the test to be difficult or painful, we can help!  By specifically diagnosing and targeting treatment to the structures containing adhesion in the neck you can get back on track to being pain and headache free.  

We pick up where others have failed.  Most patients have been to several providers before finding relief in our office.  If you live in the Cedar Rapids or Iowa City area and suffering with headaches and neck pain, call our office today at 319-423-0925 or request an appointment at www.thrivespineandsport.com to get answers to your problem! 
Thanks for reading!

Fixing Adhesion

Let’s be honest, your problem isn’t going anywhere!  In fact it’s getting worse.

You’ve tried rest, ice, stretching, pain pills, adjustments, cortisone, braces, exercise, and the list goes on.  Still your problem persists.  What is going on?

Adhesion is a term you probably haven’t heard about.  Adhesion, or scar tissue, is one of the most common conditions in the human body, but also, BY  FAR, the most misdiagnosed.  Adhesion, when present, limits flexibility and decreases strength.  The good news is that adhesion is completely reversible if treated correctly!

Adhesion

Adhesion develops primarily in two different ways – overuse, from either repetitive movements or prolonged positions (think working out, running, or sitting at a desk all day), and from trauma (think sports injury or car accident).  Adhesion acts like glue on a muscle by sticking muscles and surrounding soft tissues together.  When this happens your body has to work harder than normal to move or function normally.  You may feel “tight” or weak at first, but eventually develop inflammation and pain.

Overuse Cycle

When adhesion is present, it has to be physically broken down by a provider certified to find and fix adhesion in order for it to go away.  Stretching and exercise wont help!  Neither will a foam roller or a lacrosse ball.  These may make you feel good for a few hours or even a few days, but they are not long term solutions!

Adhesion is at the root of many common problems like low back or neck pain, sciatica, most tendinitis cases, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even headaches!

Unfortunately, if left untreated long enough, adhesion can lead to other problems like disc herniation, stress fractures, labrum tears, muscle tears/sprains/strains, and early arthritic changes.  How can that be?

Adhesion makes muscles work harder.  When muscles work harder they become overworked sooner.  Instead of the muscles absorbing most of your day to day activities, the body transfers the load into the cartilage, bones, and joints instead.  This begins a very bad cycle of chronic pain.  The sooner you fix adhesion the better!

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are certified through the Integrative Diagnosis system for the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion.  Currently, Thrive Spine and Sport is the only full body certified Integrative Diagnosis office in the state of Iowa!  Integrative Diagnosis is the premiere system for diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems.

If you, or someone you know is continuing to struggle with pain, we invite you to call our office today at 319-423-0925!  Most patients have tried numerous providers before finding relief in our office.  If you have any questions, or not sure if we can help you or not, feel free to send an email to Dr. Cody at dr.cody@thrivespineandsport.com.

Thanks for reading!

One Simple Test For Finding Headache Relief

It has been estimated that upward of 50 percent of the population will have suffered a headache in the past year.

For some, that number may seem low.

Unlike most musculoskeletal conditions, there can be a multitude of causes behind your headaches. Some headaches may be caused by hormones or food sensitivities. Other may be triggered by dehydration or the weather.  But for a large majority of headaches, the root cause often comes from dysfunction in neck muscles.

At the base of the skull there is a group of small muscles, called the suboccipitals. These very tiny muscles are responsible for movement of the skull and the first two vertebrae in the neck. With the modern day lifestyle these muscles are under constant stress and strain. Sitting at a computer for an extended time, grinding your teeth, poor posture and even previous injuries or accidents to the neck (think whiplash) can damage these tiny muscles, altering joint motion and function.

The most common result of overuse and trauma in the muscles is adhesion.

Adhesion

Adhesion may be a new term for you. Adhesion is one of the most common causes of pain, decreased flexibility, and strength. Adhesion is a buildup of fibrotic, or “scar-like” tissue, on muscles or around nerves. When present, it continues to alter load, posture and increase strain on the neck. If adhesion is present, it can be a root cause of your headaches and needs to be fixed in order to find relief.

So how can you know if you have adhesion present? Fortunately, there is a very easy test that you can do at home. Start by standing flat against a wall — heels, butt, shoulder blades and the back of the head should be touching the wall. If you cannot get your head to touch the back of the wall, the test already is positive and the presence of adhesion is most likely. If you are able to get the back of the head against the wall tilt your head back slightly until the jaw is parallel to the floor. Slowly try to tuck the chin to your neck without the back of the head leaving the wall. Any pain, or tension in the base of the neck or lower, is a positive test.

Continue the test by trying to touch the chin to the top of your chest. If you find this painful, “tight” or are unable to reach your chest, adhesion is the most likely cause of pain.

Healthy cervical flexion.
Healthy cervical flexion.

 

In order to reduce or eliminate your headaches, these tests must be cleared. In order to pass these tests, adhesion must be eliminated. Manual therapy to the affected tissues is the most effective and fastest way to relief.

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are full body certified through Integrative Diagnosis for the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion.  Many patients of our office have tried numerous providers before finding relief in our office.  If you have been struggling to find relief from headaches, we invite you to call our office today at 319-423-0925 and get to the bottom of your pain!  We also invite you to like and share this with friends and family who may be in need.

Thanks for reading!