According to the National Safety Council, 1.6 million automobile accidents in the United States are attributed to inattentive driving. More than 330,000 injuries are as a result of texting while at the wheel, making this the cause of 25% of all car accidents. Use of mobile devices while driving have been associated with eleven teen deaths every day, carrying the same risk as buzzed or drunk driving. Unfortunately, these numbers are increasing at an alarming rate. As a chiropractor who specializes in the treatment of spinal complaints and injuries, I am also seeing an increasing trend of patients seeking care in my office after being injured in an automobile accident where texting and driving was the cause. Did you know that a car traveling 50 mph will cover approximately 60 feet per second? If the average text requires 4-6 seconds for a "brief response" it is possible that the vehicle will cover the equivalent of one football field before the operator re-focuses full attention to driving. This has prompted most states to pass laws prohibiting drivers from using handheld cell phones. It is my hope that drivers of all ages pay attention to these warnings. Even though most people surveyed stated that it is easy to text and drive, and feel confident that it is a safe practice, the statistics of accidents and injuries tell the real story. If you must text or make a call, pull your car into a safe place where you can complete the call before pulling back on the roadway. It is just not worth the risk to yourself, your passengers, or other drivers sharing the road.
Even off the road, chronic texting or working on a computer leads to something called "forward head posture and loss of curvature in the neck", meaning it leads to strain and stretch on the spinal cord, a condition now being called "text neck". Text neck symptoms may be pain felt in the neck, shoulders, back, arms, fingers, hands, wrists and elbows as well as headaches and or numbness in the extremities. If left untreated it can cause permanent damage. It is important to check with your chiropractor or other health provider for advice on how to manage and prevent this type of injury. Your chiropractor is an expert on proper ergonomics and specific manual adjustments to treat pain caused by overuse.