Kids playing video games at risk for 'text neck'


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - As summer vacation arrives, children are sometimes left with quite a bit of time to their own devices, but they way they handle those devices could be causing permanent damage to their necks and backs.

In the more recent old days, we sat upright, maybe even jumped around while playing video games.Today, it's all about smaller screens, for more mobility. We're playing on handheld devices and our phones.

It's causing concern for chiropractors, as more and more young patients turn up at their offices with what's been coined "text neck."

We talked to local chiropractor Dr. Ed Casper.

"It's causing a lot of neck and upper back problems because their head is flexed down quite a bit," said Dr. Ed Casper, Chiropractor. "Their back muscles are working overtime to try to support that weight of the skull."

The lurking dangers?

Arthritis, a bad neck curve, loss of lung capacity, headaches and fatigue, but there are things you can do to combat the problem, the first of which is good form when gaming.

"If you don't have a table available, you can use a bunch of pillows, put them on your lap," Dr.Casper said.

Or you can try propping your elbows on a table with the gaming device or phone in front of you when playing or text messaging. Casper says good posture means your ears are over your shoulders, and your shoulders are over your hips.

There are also exercises to do when you take a break.

"Part of this text neck is causing your shoulders to round forward. So one of the things you can do is put your arms out, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and force your head back," he said.

Casper says to do that for five seconds, in ten repetitions.

Text neck damage is so clear, it can be seen in x-rays.

"There's no curve any longer in a text neck," Casper said. "The head is too far forward, you can see spurs on the front."

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