Phone: 712-732-3349 - Redenbaugh Chiropractic: 801 Hudson Street, Storm Lake, Iowa 50588

Is your smart phone causing your neck pain?

Is your smart phone causing your neck pain?

Smart phones can be such a pain in the neck.

What would you do to purchase the newest iPhone? Would you wait in line for 3 days like, Todd Foot of Sydney Australia, just to be the first person to purchase this cutting edge technology?

More and more people are using and incorporating mobile digital technology into their everyday lives. According to the International Telecommunications Union there were nearly 6 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide. But, what are the long-term consequences to our health?

Smart phones allow us to make purchases without credit cards (using Near Field Communication technology) and mobile technology is educating children in poor African nations. Smart phones are even assisting us to make faster and cheaper medical diagnostic decisions with George Whitesides postage stamp sized blood analysis device.

What is the down-side to this revolutionary technology? As more and more people use these smart devices it is becoming apparent the affects they can have on our bodies, most commonly our eyes and posture. Eye strain related to computer use has been well documented and known for years. However, less apparent is the adverse affects of prolonged poor posture from extended periods of smart phone use.

It used to be we could make phone calls and send the occasional text message. But, now as our smart phones become smarter they require more of our time and attention. Prolonged periods looking down can lead to neck pain, altered posture and even related neurological problems.

What are the signs of poor neck posture?

-Neck pain, shoulder pain
-Hunched posture
-Numbness and tingling in arms
-Shallow breathing
-Upset digestion

-Forward head posture can add an extra 30 pounds of strain to your neck.

Normally your head (approximately the weight of a bowling ball) is balanced on your cervical spine and held in place with muscles, ligaments and tendons. When you look down this places your head in a forward posture. The forward posture places more strain on the muscles and bones of the neck. Bones will degenerate 300 times faster to accommodate the extra stress and this can lead to arthritis and chronic pain.

-Forward head posture results in a loss of vital lung capacity.

This can lead to vascular problems and heart problems. Your brainstem is at the base of your head and is protected by the bones in your upper cervical spine. The brainstem is responsible for controlling your involuntary breathing patterns. Your altered posture over extended periods of time can place a strain on the brainstem and affect breathing. This doesn’t happen over night, but then again the effects of poor habits rarely show up for years.

-Forward head posture can affect gastrointestinal health.

The brainstem and nerve system control your digestive functions. This decrease in body communication affects the coordinated efforts of peristaltic function in the digestive tract. This means even if you are eating the proper foods (which many people do not), you cannot absorb the nutrients because of this excess stress on the body.

-Forward head posture increases neck pain and whole body pain.

The motion of the upper four vertebra of the cervical spine is responsible for the stimulus that releases pain relieving chemicals. Your body’s natural pain killers (endorphins) keep us pain free while we move and go about our daily lives. Altered endorphins lead to increased pain. Taxing pain killing medication seems like a logical solution, however, drugs will not fix the mechanical problems related to your poor posture.

October is posture awareness month at Redenbaugh Chiropractic.

Poor posture related to smart phone use can causes more than just neck pain. It can cause arthritis in the joints, decreased lung capacity, poor digestion and increase whole body pain. If you know someone who is suffering from neck pain, it could be related to their smart phone. If poor posture has already set in, then getting rid of the phone and taking more drugs will not likely solve the problems. We always perform a thorough consultation, history and physical examination on our patients to determine the cause(s) of their problems.

In our next blog post we will be discussing the ways to improve your posture.


1. Dr. Rene Cailliet, emeritus professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has written about the following effects of forward-head syndrome in his book Rejuvenation Strategy.

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Phone: 712-732-3349 - Redenbaugh Chiropractic: 801 Hudson Street, Storm Lake, Iowa 50588