In the last couple years our practice has been seeing an increasing number of teenagers and young adults suffering from chronic headaches and migraines.
The story usually involves the teenager experiencing an increase in frequency and intensity of headaches or migraines over a 12 month period. Parents will usually blame the amount of phone use their teenager is involved in – They are not too far off the mark!
Take a look at the posture people adopt when using their phone and the strain it puts on the neck. Now consider the fact that some teenagers spend up to 7 hours a day in that position! Seven hours might seem a lot of time to spend on the phone but it is quite common, especially with younger people. An interesting insight is to make them check the usage on the phone itself, because the phone doesn’t lie!
Treatment of the neck can be very effective in reducing the headaches, and can get results quickly. The hardest part is preventing the problem from reoccurring. Continuing to put the neck in strained postures will result in the returning.
To convince a teenager to use their phone less, when their entire social life involves around it, is difficult. From our experience asking them to use the phone less does not work but there are a couple of strategies that we use to offset excessive phone use.
Strategies to Improve Headaches in Teenagers:
1. Educate teenagers about the posture they adopt when using their phone. Improved posture puts less strain on the neck. A simple exercise can also help offset the strain from phone use.
2. Ironically most teenagers don’t realize how much they are using their phone until they actually check. Most of the time they are quite surprised. Its not unheard of for their phone use to decrease once they actually realise how much they were previously using it.
3. Unfortunately, once there is some dysfunction within the neck manual therapy treatment is required to undo the problem. Our practitioners are highly skilled in The Watson Headache® Approach to skilfully assess and treat the neck dysfunction, resulting in headache and migraine.