We live in a mobile world…actually, chances are, you’re reading this blog from your smart phone or tablet. You’ll probably be interrupted as you’re reading by a text, email, or maybe an alert that it’s your Facebook friend who you’ve never actually met in real life’s birthday today. Let’s face it, we are addicted. And like with all addictions, we’re causing permanent damage to our bodies.
Improper use of handheld mobile technology is resulting in a harmful physical condition known as Text Neck, and it has become an epidemic in today’s society. It’s affecting millions of people around the world.
The stress on the cervical spine caused by frequent forward head flexion is leading to early signs of spinal degeneration. Holding your neck in an awkward position for a prolonged period of time causes inflammation and irritation, which could lead to damaged joints and even arthritis.
The human head weighs around 10 to 12 pounds, however, as the neck bends forward and down, like it often does when we text, the weight put on the cervical spine increases. Depending on your posture, the weight can increase to as much as 60 pounds. This excess weight causes unnecessary wear and tear on the spine, which could eventually lead to surgery.
While this epidemic affects everyone using mobile devices, the real concern is with the younger population. By the time a person who is currently 20 turns 40, they will have spent roughly 100,000 hours hunched over their smart phone. This will lead to damage that will be difficult to correct, such as herniated discs. In extreme cases, Text Neck can even remove the neck’s natural curve.
Chances are, you aren’t going to put your smart phone down permanently to prevent the effects of Text Neck, but if you are, you should consider writing a self-help book, because that takes some serious willpower. For the rest of us, here are a few tips to help maintain proper posture while you annihilate your latest Candy Crush score and send endless Farmville requests:
1. There’s an app for that. Android users can download the Text Neck app, which will alert you if your phone is at an unacceptable angle.
2. Keep your head up. Looking down at your device doesn’t require bending your neck.
3. Be aware. Always be aware of your neck posture, correcting it if you notice you’ve started to hunch.
4. Hold your phone higher. When you eat, you bring your fork to your mouth. Try the same technique with your phone. Bring it closer to eye level, which will allow you to look at it without bending your neck.
5. Build strength. Do daily exercises to help strengthen your neck, back and shoulders.
The modern digital age has countless benefits, but remember it is important to protect your neck to avoid Text Neck and the long-term effects it can have your body. Contact our Indianapolis chiropractic clinic today to schedule a posture analysis.
About Integrated Health Solutions
Dr. Charbel Harb is a licensed chiropractic physician and the Medical Director of Integrated Health Solutions. Our core belief is that each patient who walks through the doors is a person, not just a medical record or chart. Our greatest pleasure is bringing joy to our patients and helping them to fully embrace life, allowing them to enjoy each day: active, healthy and pain free.