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Technology as a new cause of subluxation

Posted: March 4, 2019
By: Dr. Drew Rubin and Krista Fran

The causes of subluxation have been described as the three T’s ever since 1910 when D.D. Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, identified them as thoughts, traumas and toxins. As the world around us changes it seems we have a new T to be introduced into the mix, technology.

It is easy for people to grasp the concept of how physical traumas can cause subluxations, or misalignments in the spine. Forceful injuries or falls and car accidents are obviously traumatic to the body, though we can also suffer from micro traumas due to common behaviors we do on a day-to-day basis. Such micro traumas can include: poor posture, carrying a heavy backpack/purse, wearing high heels, repetitive motions for work or sports, and poor sleeping positions. Trauma is the most well known cause of subluxation in today’s society. However, it is much more than that, which is where the other T’s come into play.

Toxins may not be as obvious of a cause as a direct trauma, but can have just as many consequences in disrupting the communication in your nervous system. Our bodies can become imbalanced through toxins found in what we eat or drink as well as toxins present in our environment. Some examples of these toxins are: GMO/processed foods, chemical cleaning agents, air pollution, food sensitivities/allergens, vaccines and other medications.

The third T, thoughts, tends to be the most overlooked cause of subluxation, but can be one of the biggest contributors. Stressful situations trigger a chemical imbalance in our bodies, blood pressure and heart rate increase, leading to muscle tension. Lack of recovery from this imbalance can disrupt every system of the body. Whether we are aware of the stress or not, it will still have a negative effect on our overall wellbeing. This is why it is important to take time to decompress throughout the day, stay active and focus on your breath.

Now, for the newest of the T’s…In the last 10 years we have really seen an evolution in technology. There are many benefits to this in society, however it has also led to a lot of problems with the generations that are now constantly on their phones or computers. As chiropractors we are seeing more forward head posture than ever before, it has even coined the name “tech neck.” Studies have revealed that American mobile phone users look down at phones an average of 2.7 hours a day, which can cause neck strain over long periods of time. An adult human head weighs about 10 pounds when looking straight ahead, but that weight multiplies to up to 50-60 pounds of weight on the neck when hunched over due to the effect of gravity. Some helpful tips to avoid this fourth T from causing havoc to your nervous system include:

  1. Raise your screen higher so that it is eye level
  2. Take breaks often and/or set a time limit for how long you will use your devices
  3. Sit in a chair with a headrest so you can maintain good posture
  4. Strengthen and stretch your muscles
  5. Get checked by your chiropractor to remove any nerve interference


Cuellar JM, Lanman TH. “Text neck”: an epidemic of the modern era of cell phones? Spine J. 2017. 17(6):901-2.


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