Smartphones have transformed the way we live. As new apps are developed and cellular networks have improved, we are using our phones more than ever before. Most users spend two to five hours per day on their phone. Teenagers, the most devoted smartphone users, can spend eight hours per day, or more, using their phone. This adds up to thousands of hours per year!
While we can’t get enough of our phones, there is a risk to staring down at our screens all day long. Hunching forward for extended periods of time can result in shoulder pain, neck spasms and headaches; commonly known as “Text-Neck”. SpineHealth.com describes Text-Neck as 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 average human head weighs 10 – 12 pounds, but for every inch we lean forward our head weighs an additional 10 pounds. Bending your neck to read a text message can place an additional 50 pounds of pressure on your neck! The farther the head tilts forward, the more pressure it puts on the spine:
- 15 degrees puts 27 pounds of pressure on the spine
- 30 degrees puts 40 pounds of pressure on the spine
- 45 degrees places 49 pounds of pressure on the spine
- 60 degrees places 60 pounds of pressure on the spine
Continued pressure can result in large amounts of wear and tear, degeneration of the spine and neck, muscle strain, herniated discs, and pinched nerves. There is a risk of losing the curvature in the neck, which may require corrective surgery. Normally, these injuries affect people in their late 40’s, but now teens and young adults are at greater risk.
There are several things you can do to prevent poor posture and relieve any resulting pain including:
- Always keep your smart devices at eye level to prevent leaning forward.
- Spend 15 minutes per day stretching out your neck, spine and chest.
- Every hour, rotate your neck by gently looking to the left and right, 10 times on each side.
- Strengthen your core muscles so they can help support your upper body and help create proper posture.
- Maintain a healthy weight to help keep your spine healthy. Every extra pound puts an additional 4 pounds of pressure on your joints. Our Precision CalPal Digital Bathroom Scale tracks weight, features a daily caloric reference that calculates how many calories are needed to maintain your weight and calculates BMI (Body Mass Index).
- Take breaks at least twice an hour to reduce pressure when working at your computer for long periods of time.
- Make sure laptops and desktop computers are positioned to be read at eye level.
- Be cognizant of your posture throughout the day. Are you leaning forward to watch TV or drive? Being mindful can help you maintain good posture and relax sore muscles.
- See a doctor if you fail to obtain relief. They may recommend massage and physical therapy to relieve pain and help you heal.
Enjoy your technology but be sure to take care of your neck and spine.