WAKEFIELD (CBS) – Merrimack College senior Meghan Barraso thought her backpack was to blame when she visited a chiropractor for neck pain.
“I can’t like write because it would hurt,” she said pointing to the side of her neck. “I couldn’t type on my laptop without it hurting,” she added.
Chiropractor Dr. Peter Martone told Meghan the problem wasn’t on her back, but in her hand.
“When you’re texting, or you’re on the computer, that’s causing your head to come forward, causing the neck muscles to be tighter,” he explained to her during a recent visit to his office in Wakefield.
Using a model of the spine, Martone explained that a healthy neck has a slight cervical curve, but a patient with “text neck” will have little or no curve in the neck.
It’s a condition Martone used to see only in older adults, but now many of his patients are teenagers. “I have a 17-year-old, their spine looks like they are 65,” he told WBZ-TV.
In addition to chiropractic treatment, Martone says the key to relieving the pain is sleep position. He says sleeping on the back with a pillow to support that neck arch is critical.
“That will help offset the texting,” he said.
Meghan says getting used to sleeping on your back can be tricky, but she says it has helped. “I find every time I sleep on my back, I wake up and I feel a lot better,” she said.
Martone designed a special pillow to help perfectly position the neck during sleep. It should be available for sale some time before the end of the year.