We all do it when we have a spare moment… look down at our smartphones. With 58% of American adults owning smartphones (we’re most certainly pushing a higher rate here in the Silicon Valley) how does it affect our health – more specifically our posture?
Research from Dr. Ken Hansraj M.D. explains that the human head weighs about 12 pounds and as we bend our neck forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15° angle, the head weight increases to 27 pounds and continues to gain pressure all the way up to 60 pounds for a 60° angle. Some experts warn that for every inch the head tilts forward, the pressure on the spine doubles. 60 Pounds is the equivalent of an 8-year-old kid on your neck – this is significant pressure.
With an average smartphone use of 2-4 hours a day (700-1400 hours per year) researchers say that over time poor neck posture, or “Text Neck”, can lead to early wear and tear, degeneration, and even surgery. What’s even worse is use among high-schoolers who are estimated to spend 5,000 additional hours in the head-bowed position.
What to do?! Dr. Hansraj gives 2 tips to avoid pain related to smartphone use:
- Look down at your device with your eyes. No need to bend your neck.
- Exercise: Move you 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 forwards to strengthen “the muscles of good posture”.
Chiropractors are trained in the mechanics of the spine and in overall posture, treating existing Text Neck pain and its causes. For your personal Text Neck consultation, contact me for the next available appointment. We can often schedule same day appointments for existing patients (408) 866-8820.