Healthy Living

Catching 'em all can be a pain in the neck

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Doctors brace for the health risks associated with the world’s most popular phone app

With the burst of popularity that has been Pokémon Go, chiropractors the world over are bracing for what’s sure to come next: an influx of young patients suffering from “Text Neck.”

Text Neck—a condition caused by staring down at a phone or other mobile device for too long— is likely going to reach epidemic proportions as the Pokémon Go phone app recently surpassed 21 million daily active users, making it the biggest mobile game in U.S. history.

While parents are touting the fact that the app has been a catalyst to getting their children away from the video-game couches inside the house, doctors fear that the increase in poor head and neck position could have debilitating, long-term effects.

“By holding your head too long in a downward position, unnecessary stress is pushed onto the neck and then the spine, causing pain, numbness, trouble sleeping, or lifelong injury,” said Dr. Chris Tomshack, D.C., CEO of HealthSource Chiropractic. “It’s a serious condition that parents and children alike need to be made aware of.”

Because children are still growing, being vigilant about their neck health is important. The earlier problems are identified; the sooner they can be addressed. For a healthy, mobile-based gaming experience, Tomshack recommends the following four tips:

  1. If you’re going to be on your mobile device for a long time, try to hold it at eye level so your neck isn’t curved downward.
  2. Take at least a 15-minute break from using your device every hour.
  3. Stretch your neck and back every 20 minutes by rolling your shoulders back and drawing your chin up towards the sky.
  4. Discuss the pain you’re having with your chiropractor.

Visit a HealthSource Chiropractic office near you to learn more about common neck, back, and neuromuscular conditions.