*Buzz* *Buzz* it is another text. Our immediate reaction is to grab our devices and text back no matter if we are walking down the street, sitting in a desk, or even at the gym. We usually look at our devices with our heads at a downward angle causing our generation to get something called “text neck”. Text neck is the term used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long.
The human head weighs about a dozen pounds. But as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds.
Can’t grasp the significance of 60 pounds? Imagine carrying an 8-year-old around your neck several hours per day. Smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours per day hunched over, reading e-mails, sending texts or checking social media sites. That’s 700 to 1,400 hours per year people are putting stress on their spines, according to the research. And high-schoolers might be the worst. They could conceivably spend an additional 5,000 hours in this position according to a study by Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine. Medical experts have been warning people for years. Some say for every inch the head tilts forward, the pressure on the spine doubles.
Poor posture can cause other problems as well. Experts say it can reduce lung capacity by as much as 30 percent. It has also been linked to headaches and neurological issues, depression and heart disease.
Kenneth Hansraj gives smartphone users two tips to avoid pain:
- Look down at your device with your eyes. No need to bend your neck.
- Exercise: Move your head from left to right several times. Use your hands to provide resistance and push your head against them, first forward and then backward. Stand in a doorway with your arms extended and push your chest forward to strengthen the muscles of good posture.
If you are feeling neck pain and/or have any questions about text neck, feel free to contact Core Rehab at 702-577-1962 or visit any one of our five locations around the Las Vegas valley. www.corerehab.info/locations