Raise your hand if you text. If you asked that question in a room of 100 people ranging from age 5 to 85 over 50% would have their hand raised. Texting has become the new conversation piece for personal and business communications. This is mainly because of a society that moves so fast multi-tasking is the only way to get it all done. (Example: I am hosting a business call while typing this blog)
What we don’t consider is the long-term affects theses “harmless” activities have on our bodies. It’s a known fact that people who spend their time behind the desk suffer with back and neck pains, along with, terrible posture, and other issues. Did you know that texting is just as bad?
Research has shown that a new study in Surgical Technology International, has proven that craning the neck over a cell phone can exert an extra 60 pounds of weight on the head of an adult, all leading to potential spinal problems. Look at the graphic below, you will find a prime example of what its looks like internally when we text, email, tweet, Facebook, and any other task that require typing from your phone.
Study author and New York spinal surgeon Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj created a model of the cervical spine to measure the amount of gravitational force exerted on the human head during this common activity. He measured the force at various angles and found that the farther your head falls forward, the more dramatically the weight increases on your neck and spine.
“An adult head weighs 10 to 12 pounds in the neutral position,” writes Hansraj in the paper. “As the head tilts forward the forces seen by the neck surges to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees.”
To put this number in perspective, 60 pounds is roughly six sacks of potatoes, six large watermelons or an 8-year-old child. Hansraj writes that good posture is when the ears are aligned with the shoulders and shoulder blades. Losing the spine’s natural curvature will lead to more and more stress over time, causing “early wear, tear, degeneration, and possibly surgeries.”
The idea to look into spinal stress struck Hansraj when he started seeing patients coming into his office at a younger age complaining of neck and back pain. “I remember one man in particular who we found out was crouching over an iPad playing video games four hours every day,” he told Yahoo Health. “It’s amazing how many people globally are in a ‘heads down’ position.” See more about this study at http://www.drken.us/
How many hours a day do you spend texting or on other technology? The average is a bit low in my opinion, but it states that most people spend two to four hours a day on phones and other tech gadgets, resulting in at least an extra 700 to 1,400 hours of stress on the neck and spine each year.
Now that we have terrified you and their is a high possibility that your reading this post from your phone, let’s look at some solutions. One suggestion would be to get in the habit of hold your devices at eye level. If you are sitting, try scooting out the the edge of the chair and leaning back to get a clear view of your device, instead of leaning forward. In this position you can also rest your arms on the chair for added support.