“Text Neck” Related to Looking Down and Texting on Devices

Text Neck
Text Neck
Image: WebMD.com

A fellowship-trained spinal surgeon, Dr. Paul W. McDonough assists patients throughout the Abilene, Texas, community. A strong believer in preventive health care, Paul McDonough, MD, engages closely with patients in emphasizing ways of maintaining proper spine and back health.

Within a highly connected world, people are increasingly tied to their devices wherever they go, and they can experience previously rare posture issues that are now linked to habitual texting or otherwise looking at a smartphone. “Text neck” can occur in a number of ways, and it is commonly caused by dropping your head in a forward direction to focus on a small screen.

When in a proper upright position, the neck muscles can comfortably support a weight of up to 12 pounds. Each inch that your head drops results in a doubling of the load on the neck muscles. When looking down at your smartphone, with your chin close to your chest, this load increases to the equivalent of about 60 pounds. This type of posture is responsible for muscle and back strain and also impairs the ability of the lungs to expand, which makes the heart work harder to supply needed oxygen throughout the body. “Text neck” can be avoided by holding the phone higher, at or near eye level, and limiting the time spent on mobile devices.

Visiting Scotland

Scotland pic
Image: visitourscotland.co.uk

UCLA School of Medicine Alumni Paul McDonough, MD is a spine surgeon in Abilene, Texas. Prior to his work in Abilene, Dr. Paul McDonough worked as a missionary in Scotland for two years. Dr. McDonough enjoys going on trips with his family, and especially enjoyed the chance to take them to Scotland and show them sights that were familiar to him. Even for those who have never been to Scotland before, there are many sights and adventures, which make it a unique and rewarding vacation spot.

Scotland has a variety of outdoor activities, ranging from cycling to hiking to golf. For active visitors, a bike tour may be the best way to see and experience the Scottish countryside. The mild climate coupled with a large offering of cycle-friendly accommodations make it relatively easy to bring or rent a bike and cycle the trails and roads, many of which are family friendly.

For those who don’t wish to bike, but still want to actively explore the country, hiking is another alternative. Scotland’s Great Trails are a network of trails, which combined form more than 1,700 miles worth of walking! Each trail in the network is at least 25 miles long, and can range up to 200 miles long. Of course, casual hikers do not need to be discouraged, as there are also sections of trail that are perfect for a day’s hike. All paths are well-maintained and managed to ensure each hiker’s safety.

In addition to Scotland’s beautiful countryside, the city of Edinburgh is particularly interesting. Edinburgh is considered the biggest tourist stop in Scotland, and with good reason. The city and surrounding area offer a mix of old and new attractions, from castles to museums and historical sites.

No matter how a visitor chooses to tour Scotland, and there are a wide range of options. Visitors will find Scotland to be an out of the ordinary, fascinating vacation.

The Battle of Hastings

British Isles
British Isles


A spine surgeon by profession, Paul W. McDonough, MD, enjoys listening to lectures and reading about history in his free time. Dr. Paul McDonough pursues a particular personal interest in the history of the British Isles.

On October 14, 1066, William the Conqueror faced off against King Harold of England and his Saxon armies. William, the duke of Normandy, had come to England to claim the throne that he believed to be rightfully his.

William’s cousin, Edward the Confessor, had been ruler of England. Being childless, he had promised to leave the throne to William, but on his deathbed he named English nobleman Harold Godwine as his successor. William waited only eight months to bring 7,000 cavalry and troops on 1,000 ships across the Channel to England.

At the time, King Harold and his troops had traveled to Yorkshire to face a challenge from the king’s brother, Tostig. William landed in England facing no opposition and immediately traveled to Hastings. The king’s troops returned south and arrived west of Hastings on the 13th of October.

William and his troops attacked the following day. The victor remained uncertain until late afternoon, when the Normans broke the Saxon line. Legend has it that the battle ended when a member of the Norman armies pierced King Harold’s eye with an arrow, thus ending his life and bringing about the end of Anglo-Saxon rule in England.

Relieving Back Pain through Exercise and Alignment

Dr Paul McDonough MD pic
Dr Paul McDonough MD
Image: orthoabilene.com

As fellowship-trained spine surgeon, Paul W. McDonough, MD, treats a variety of conditions that cause back and neck pain through Orthopaedic Associates of Abilene. Dr. Paul McDonough upholds a commitment to helping his patients minimize their discomfort through healthy body mechanics.

Approximately 80 percent of people living in the United States will experience back pain at least once in their lives. Such pain may arise as a result of injury or simply from the stresses of daily living. In either case, good alignment habits can play a role in minimizing discomfort and promoting long-term back health. Individuals both with and without back pain should take care to stand or sit with the shoulders over the hips, as any curving forward or leaning back can affect spinal curvature.

Exercise also plays a key role in minimizing back pain, even for those with injuries. Experts recommend activities that are not overly strenuous, but that mobilize the spine without causing pain. Working on the core muscles can help to strengthen the torso and reduce pressure on the back, while increasing flexibility can serve to reduce tightness and balance the way the body carries weight.

Scoliosis – Definition and Treatment

Scoliosis pic
Image: WebMD.com

Paul W. McDonough, MD, is a spine surgeon in Abilene, Texas. Having completed a spine surgery fellowship, he received the most advanced spinal surgery training available. One of the conditions that Dr. Paul McDonough treats in his practice is scoliosis.

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine grows with a sideways bend instead of remaining straight. It often manifests itself during puberty, but its cause is largely unknown. Outwardly, people with scoliosis can appear to have uneven shoulders and an imbalance in the waist and buttocks. However, scoliosis can be mild or severe, and in mild cases, a person might not display outward abnormalities. In severe cases, scoliosis can complicate movement, affect lung function, and constrict the heart.

There are several methods available for treating scoliosis. A brace can be used to correct spine curvature in people whose bones are still developing. The brace fits close to the body and is practically undetectable beneath clothing. In some situations, people with scoliosis require surgery. The most common procedure is a spinal fusion. Using rods, screws, and hooks, a surgeon links bones in the vertebrae together so that they can’t move independently, which allows parts of the spine to fuse together over time.

Mary Jones’ Recovery from a Broken Neck

broken neck
broken neck

Abilene, Texas-based physician Paul McDonough, MD, has performed more than 5,000 surgeries since the start of his medical career. He received spine fellowship training, the highest level of training offered for spine surgery in the United States. In 2011, Dr. Paul W. McDonough gained recognition in his community for helping a woman recover from a broken neck.

The patient, Mary Jones, endured severe abuse from her husband at the time. Mary Jones’ neck was broken during an argument and her abuser refused to seek medical treatment for her for four days. When medical personnel came to retrieve Mary Jones from her home, she was dehydrated, weak, and unable to move. Dr. McDonough performed surgery to stabilize her spine, but Mary Jones’ condition was so precarious that her chances of recovery looked slim. Less than 1 percent of patients with similar neck injuries are able to regain the use of their limbs.

After the surgery, Mary Jones went on to physical therapy, where she painstakingly learned how to sit up, how to use her hands, and eventually, how to take her first steps again on her own. Her recovery was considered miraculous by many of the medical personnel involved in her care.

Abilene State Park – A Wildlife-Rich Community Asset


Abilene State Park pic
Abilene State Park
Image: tpwd.texas.gov

Paul W. McDonough, MD, is a respected Abilene, Texas, spine surgeon who treats patients with conditions such as arthritis and spinal slippage and curvature. A longtime resident of West Texas, Dr. Paul W. McDonough has embraced the regional culture and maintains an active interest in wildlife management and the great outdoors.

One of the most popular scenic destinations in the local area is Abilene State Park, which comprises more than 500 acres of land in Taylor County and was acquired by the state in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression. A Civilian Conservation Corps project, work on the park was completed in 1934.

A semi-arid environment characterized by brushland, short-grass prairie, and riparian woods, the park encompasses camping and trails as well as a historic swimming pool and a fishing pond. The Buffalo Wallow Pond can be fished without permit and is stocked with crappie, bass, perch, and catfish. Wildlife in the park ranges from cottontail rabbits and armadillos to the ubiquitous white-tailed deer.

Abilene Spine Surgeon Helps Assault Victim Regain Mobility

cervical spinal surgery
cervical spinal surgery

Spine surgeon Paul W. McDonough, MD, in Abilene, Texas, specializes in lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spinal surgery.

When 32-year-old Mary Jones arrived at the hospital in Dr. Paul McDonough’s care, she was unable to move or control any part of her body. Assaulted by her husband, who twisted her neck in a brutal attack and then held her captive for four days afterward, Jones presented with dehydration, rhabdomyolysis (a dangerous breakdown of muscle tissue), and a C-fracture dislocation in her upper neck.

Dr. McDonough performed surgery to stabilize Jones’ spine and relieve pressure, but was not sure that she would regain mobility. In the 24-hour period following a spinal injury, it’s difficult to know what a patient’s ultimate prognosis will be, McDonough said. But four days after her initial injury, the surgeon knew that Jones would no longer be in the “spinal shock” that typically characterizes such an injury, he said.

With that grim realization, McDonough said he didn’t expect any significant recovery.

“Less than 1 percent of patients in that situation will see any meaningful improvement,” he said, though he performed surgery to stabilize and remove pressure from Jones’ spine.
Jones said McDonough was honest with her, telling her he couldn’t promise that she would recover.

She appreciated both his expertise, she said, as well as his honesty. But the thought of not being able to hold close her two children, Jared Jones, 8, and Chelsie Combs, 11, was just too much to bear, she said.”I just wanted to be strong,” she said. “Everyone told me how bad it was, but I just said, ‘I want to do this.'”

And she did. After her stay in the hospital, Jones went to the Hendrick Center for Rehabilitation, still unable to move. Physical therapists helped her to build her core strength, and she soon surprised everyone by regaining movement in her limbs as well. Within a month, Jones could move her right foot and text with her right hand. Though recovery continues, she recently has walked around the block unassisted.

Grateful, Jones commented, “I’m one out of a hundred. I shouldn’t be here. I should be gone. But God gave me another chance.”

10 tips for a healthy back

Follow these simple guidelines to keep your back in good shape.

1)  Standing         

Keeping one foot forward of the other, with knees slightly bent, takes the pressure off your lower back.

2) Sitting

Sitting with your knees slightly higher than your hips provides good low back support.

3)  Reaching

Stand on a stool to reach things that are above your shoulder level.

4)  Moving Heavy Items

Pushing is easier on your back than pulling.  Use your arms and legs to start the push.  If you must lift a heavy item, get someone to help you.

5)  Lifting

Kneel down on one knee with the other, foot flat on the floor, as near as possible to the item you are lifting.  Lift with your legs, not your back, keeping the object close to your body at all times.

6)  Carrying

Two small objects (one in either hand) may be easier to handle than one large one.  If you must carry one large object, keep it close to your body.

7)  Sleeping

Sleeping on your back puts 55 lbs. of pressure on your back.  Putting a couple of pillows under your knees cuts the pressure in half.  Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees also reduces the pressure.

8)  Weight Control

Additional weight puts a strain on your back.  Keep within 10 lbs. of your ideal weight for a healthier back.

9)  Quit Smoking

Smokers are more prone to back pain than nonsmokers because nicotine restricts the flow of blood to the disks that cushion your vertebrae.

10)  Minor Back Pain

Treat Minor back pain with anti-inflammatories and gentle stretching, followed by an ice pack.