Screen Time and Neck Pain…The Connection

Discover why your cell phone may be ringing your neck! If you didn’t catch last week’s episode Hidden Causes of Neck Pain, watch here

Recap Last Week Hidden Causes of Neck Pain00:02-1:17
Neck Muscles Aren’t Doing Their Job1:18-03:24
Opto-Kinetic Reflex03:25-06:06
Posture Changes Structure06:07-08:14
Unhealthy Adaptation08:15-12:12
How to Promote Healthy Adaptation12:13-14:10
Take Action14:11-17:24

Recap Last Week Hidden Causes of Neck Pain

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:00:04] Let’s start.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:00:06] Yeah, so last week, we sort of spoke about the forty-two-degree curve and how the structure of your spine really dictates its function and your ability to sort of move pain-free and how what we do in chiropractic care is we maintain that 42-degree curve. And then we sort of went through all of the relevant anatomies that we talked about in the spine and what it looks like when it’s in normal shape and compared it to the lordotic curve there to the right. And just as a little tidbit, we didn’t point this out last week. Maybe Dr. Roach could sort of look at the teeth there. And you can see that our friend here has a fake tooth.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:00:45] a fake tooth, no, no, that’s a fake tooth.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:00:48] It’s a fake tooth. And so we’ll see maybe This guy has a gold tooth, who knows?

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:00:54] Nothing gets hidden on an X-ray. It’s all there.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:00:56] That’s right. That’s right.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:00:58] So, guys, if you stay till the end of this video, we’re going to show you something that you just do not see anywhere else. But on Humpday conversation like this is this will blow your mind. OK, so stay till the end, because this is going to be pretty cool and it’s got something to do with this little thing right there. But I don’t want to spoil it, so go ahead Ben.

Neck Muscles Aren’t Doing Their Job

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:01:18] Yeah. So let’s move on to the next slide here and we’re going to talk a little bit about a study that was published that just this year. And it talks about how this forward had posture actually decreases cervical proprioception. OK, keyword proprioception. This is the sensory feedback that the muscles actually give to the head neck. What we’re finding is that when we’re looking forward at our phones, our muscles aren’t telling our head and neck where our head is in space.

The more that we look down, we don’t even realize that we’re creeping more and more and more ahead. Then before we know what we look up there like, oh, my neck really hurts. How long have I even been down there? For a while. The reason is, is because the minute that you flex forward, those muscles actually stop and shut off and they’re not telling you where you are in space. Pretty cool.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:02:19] So in other words, the brain what you’re saying, Ben, is that brain no longer perceives that the muscles are in an abnormal, abnormal position. So it’s almost like guys that what I want to compare it to is, you know, when you walk into the room and there’s a strange smell and all of a sudden when you’ve been in a room for like 10 minutes, you don’t smell anymore. But that’s the loss of proprioception, meaning that the brain here no longer knows that the spine looks like this. Right,

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:02:51] Exactly, exactly. And so people oftentimes say, well, my muscles are weak or this is that no, your muscles aren’t weak and your muscles are just turned off. They’re literally turned off when they’re in that position. And it leads to that flex posture. And as you progress in the study, they said after 40 minutes of smartphone use, people have no clue where their head was in space. They told him to turn one way to the right, and they had a difficult time centring themselves in comparison to people who didn’t look at their smartphones. Yeah.

Opto-Kinetic Reflex

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:03:25] So is this where I need to talk about the optokinetic reflex? Yes. OK, so one of the things that Facebook does very well, it’s almost like a VLT machine, right, where you crank it. And then what gets you to crank it again is maybe that what you want will show up on the screen. But every time you basically crank it, there’s a different set of numbers or bells or Cherries that show up on the screen on the Facebook feed. It was designed kind of that way where as soon as you click home, your feed is portraying something different, but different in a way, but not different in another way, because Facebook knows exactly what you’ve looked at in the past. It continues to give you content that you love.

Pressing that home button, checking your newsfeed becomes an addiction because you’re always getting new stuff and you’re always wondering what’s going to be in your feed. What happens is that when you’re scrolling down on your news feed, your eyes go down and then they come back up to pick up the next thing that it’s viewing. So it goes up and down, up and down. That is called an Optokinetic reflex, optokinetic reflex. And what it gives the brain is the perception that you’re actually falling down. So what happens? Your shoulders start to roll in, your head goes down and you start to look like this person. Exactly. So there is a neurological impact of you being on your phone for an unreasonable amount of time.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:05:01] Absolutely, absolutely crazy. It’s crazy and the use of handheld devices as well, guys, is shown to trigger a higher activity level in the muscles that attach to your neck, as well as the muscles that are supposed to hold you more erect. So even though you’re leaning forward and those muscles don’t seem like they’re doing their job to pull you back into place, they’re actually tightening up the more and more and more that you look down. And so that’s another reason why when you come back up and those muscles are all fired up and in pain, it’s because they’re literally being triggered by the movements that you’re performing on to them

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:05:39] crazy guys. If you think that this was pretty cool information if you have learned something so far and we’ve only been on for like five minutes. Please give us a thumbs up. All right, we just want to get some feedback here that we’re sharing information that matters to you because this is why we do stuff right. This is why we’re doing this every Wednesday night and we’ve committed to this. Then I don’t know what to say here like this is just. This is like who would have thought that this would be happening? All right, so, guys, this is the moment that you guys have all been waiting for because we are showing you stuff here that we don’t see all the time on x rays. But we are starting to see this a lot more.

Posture Changes Structure

Dr. Clayton Roach: Now, I want to preface this by saying that we are starting to see. Lack of curves in the neck, you see, this guy doesn’t have a curve, it is supposed to go. Like this, OK, no curves, I am starting to see this in eight to nine-year-olds, I’m going to repeat this no Dotti curve and they are. Eight years old. I don’t know how to explain this, but that is mind-boggling, like this is something that you would see literally before all this mobile stuff, 30 to 40 years old, right. Maybe start of an alordotic curve. It’s just crazy. So go ahead.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:07:07] Yeah. So this is a really cool study and it was performed in 2018 and it was comparing the sizes of these ESOPs, these occipital protuberances just on the back of the head there to people with and without neck pain. Now the individual on the top is twenty-eight years old. And in a prior study where they actually did this in 1996, they were not seeing ESOPs this size. And so one of the big correlates since the technology revolution is the introduction of smartphones and working at the computer, and so it places a lot of pressure on that bony prominence last week. Just to sort of giving us a little more idea.

I spoke about this thing called Davis’ Law and Wolf’s law and how the bones and the ligaments and structures respond to the places that are placed upon them. So if you’re constantly tugging on a structure over the course of years and months and being on your cell phone for almost six hours per day, it’s going to have an impact on the structures in your body and you’re going to start to see a change.

Unhealthy Adaptation

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:08:14] Yeah. So, Ben, I want like I want you guys to really appreciate this. I’m going to go back to the normal x ray. What I underlined here was the EOP is called the external occipital, which is the bone here, the occipital bone protuberance, which means just basically a rounded bump here that is normal. OK, we’re going to go back to what we’re talking about. And this is what you see. I mean, this is like a hawk. Like, that’s crazy. And the reason that’s happening, guys, is because your head is down and these muscles right here are constantly pulling and pulling and pulling and all of a sudden you’ve got to look back there, which.

And if you saw this, Ben, but that’s a soft tissue, that’s the skin it’s actually pushing, it’s creating a bump on the neck like this is nuts. So, you know, that is because constantly pulling on the bone by these muscles is creating a bump there.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:09:16] Yes. And you can also see, I just like to point out as well, just for the anatomy fans out here on the lower level in that lower X-ray, not only do we see a straightening of the spine now, this is a 58-year-old individual and we see the enlarged EOP. We also see a small nuchal bone just down in the soft tissues. If we look behind there, there it is. And so a lot of this, what we call is ossification in musculature, and so when the muscles aren’t being moved properly and not being moved enough, they actually begin to ossify. And you see some of that on X-ray.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:09:53] That is just crazy. So, guys, I’m going to stop there now. OK, so I’m just going to stop sharing my screen here and we’ll get back to this. So maybe we can just review the process. Right. So we have a young child who grows up and this is this could be a story just in our clinic. The child grows up. Grows up in this generation where there’s a lot of street time, right, and adults are not immune to it because a lot of us are working from home now on a dining room table. Terrible ergonomics, but we’re spending a lot of screen time, there was one study, I think, that said that our screen time is up an hour and forty-five minutes every day.

Right. So that’s a lot of time responding on screen time. So we grew up as a kid. We’re now having all this screen time. All of a sudden our neck goes from a 40 two degrees curve to no curve at all. So now all the spacing for the disc is starting to compress slowly but surely. And all of a sudden you’ve got this kid that’s in grade 10, grade 11 that’s starting to complain about neck pain, starting to get headaches, turns into migraines, perhaps just neck pain, maybe not doing well in school anymore.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:11:11] Now we’re starting to say, well, you know, let’s give them a little bit of Tylenol. And that begins the lifestyle cycle that that child starts to propagate, throw this whole entire life. What we’re here to tell you is that this doesn’t have to be. We want to make sure that this child gets checked. We don’t know if the child needs chiropractic care, but we want to treat it like a dentist where you go to a dentist. Are you going to go for dental care? I’m like, no, I’m going to go for a dental checkup. You’re going for a chiropractic checkup to see if that’s what’s needed.

But to say that my child has no reason to go to a chiropractor because he doesn’t have any pain means anything. What does the structure look like? That person where we saw with the big bone in the back top of his neck and in his head and all that stuff might not have any pain. The crazy thing is the body adapts, but it doesn’t mean it is good. Right? So touch be spent on what people, kids or adults don’t really matter can do to minimize the impact on their neck from using their mobile. Devices.

How to Promote Healthy Adaptation

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:12:15] Absolutely. So the thing things one of the big things is looking at your workspace, what can you do at home to make sure that your technology and what it is that you’re viewing is at eye level? I don’t care what you have to do. You don’t have to have a standing desk, lower your seat slightly or stack a few books, put yourself in a position so that your head is looking straight away.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:12:39] If you have a laptop, get a detached keyboard, wireless keyboard, absolutely.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:12:45] Another thing that you can do is hold your phone at close to eye level, holding out in front of you like this. Yeah, sure. You might be attracting a little bit of attention, but I see a lot of people who sit at a clinic, bring their phones up to eye level and do their typing from here. Now, it’s better than being down and looking at your phone and being slouched over like so typing, because the next thing you know, you get up from that position like, oh, my neck.

I can’t believe how long I’ve been down there for so long while these muscles are shut off. They’re not telling you, that’s for sure. So tell yourself give yourself that feedback and hold it there. And then when you’re tired of your arm being put up, maybe it’s time to take a break from your phone anyway. Put your phone down to do a few stretches if you have these types of stretches. Right. And tap back in, take a break, no need to look down at the floor

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:13:36] Because they’re not going to go away, right? It’s almost like teeth and sugar, you don’t get to a point. All right. I brush my teeth my whole life. I’m done now. Right. They’re always going to be exposed to stress. Our spine maybe is not exposed to chemical stress, like sugar, like our teeth. But there’s physical stress and positional stress. So that doesn’t go away. It needs to be managed either stuff that you do on your own, like what Ben just talked about, and regular care to manage the state of your spine and the stress that it’s under. That would be our advice. Right.

Take Action

Dr. Clayton Roach: So, guys, if you’re liking this episode like this is pretty crazy stuff, you’re not going to see an extra like that every time. I was glad that you found this, Ben. That was pretty cool. And so make sure you share this episode. Give us a little bit of hearts and love and thumbs up. And we love doing this. This has been awesome. We commit to this every Wednesday. Ben shows up every single time with a smile on and he’s got a good presentation going. And I love this because we’re reaching people outside our four doors, which has been our goal all along.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:14:42] All the way, we’re reaching new places and new people that otherwise wouldn’t have gotten this information because nobody we’re committing time to this doctor is sharing his expertise with us every Wednesday night. We understand how busy is. And I’m making an effort as well to offer something out there that’s new to you guys and something that you guys like. So by all means, please comment in the post below things that you guys want to hear about, things that you guys are excited about and maybe questions that you guys have and that you haven’t gotten a chance to ask and also like and share the post share with some of your friends.

I know that there were a few patients that have actually shared and their friends have come in. They’ve called there. They’re interested in seeking chiropractic care. They want to know what it’s all about. And that’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to share and create a community.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:15:32] And if it happens as I mean, this would be the greatest gift, like you share this episode, somebody comes in, changes their life, and then one day they go back to you and say, man, thank you so much for sharing that Facebook post. I went to see a chiropractor. We don’t really care if it’s us or not. As always, go see a chiropractor and get help. That’s really what matters because many of these people are going around in a circle. They’re not getting the answers that they need for their problems. Right. So what else? That’s basically it. Next week, we’re going to stick with the neck, but we’re going to kind of. Change a little bit, yeah.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:16:05] We’ll be talking more about conditions next week, which you guys are totally going to be interested in. Also, this is Humpday episode number nine as crazy about the ninth week. that we’ve been doing Humpday

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:16:17] More than two months now.

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:16:18] Yeah, yeah. This is just we just got over the two-month hump and next week is number 10. That’s like a milestone. That’s like we’re in the double digits now and things are getting better. But shopping next week. Oh, we’re going to show up with the condition that’s going to that’s just going to

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:16:35] Be going to be something actually. You guys, if you want to comment, what would be the number one condition that you want us to talk about? That’s got to do with the neck. We’re going to stick with the neck next week. So any comments? We’ll go after those comments. Then I’m going to drop our link, our Calendly link, which basically you can book online and that’s it.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:16:56] Yeah. Calendly Link has posted guys, make sure you like and share this so that your friends can see it and if they’re interested in signing up for an appointment, an initial appointment to have their spine checked by Dr. Roach and me, we would love to see them in the clinic and we can’t wait to see you guys again next week. I hope you guys enjoyed it. We love and appreciate you guys. So take care and have a great, great rest of your week.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:17:17] Thank you so much, guys. Looking forward to seeing you next week, Wednesday at nine o’clock for Humpday conversation number ten. Take care, guys. What’s up? Listen, if you like this episode, you’ll probably like the other ones. Chances are pretty good. So here’s what you need to do. You need to like us and follow us on Facebook. Following means, you get notified when these two guys are alive. Next, family, friends, you need to share these episodes because you never know. You might help them because they need this information as well. And guys,

Dr. Ben Boudreau: [00:17:43] If you ever miss an episode, make sure you subscribe to us on YouTube. That way, you can watch the episode over and over and over again.

Dr. Clayton Roach: [00:17:50] Guys, we love you and appreciate you. Take care.