We have written several blogs in the past about ‘text neck’ and a new study published in the National Library of Medicine is a timely reminder of the impact that this phenomenon can have on our health.
Bad posture can put up to 60lb (almost 27kg) of pressure on the upper spine – sometimes for several hours a day depending on how often individuals are using their devices.
An adult head weighs around 12lb (nearly 5.5kg) which means that tilting the head forwards just 15 degrees can increase the force on the cervical spine – the neck – to 27lb (12kg).
Kenneth K. Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, says the bad posture can put up to 60 pounds of pressure on the upper spine — sometimes for several hours a day, depending on how often people look at their devices.
At 60 degrees — the common texting posture that people adopt especially while on the move — the stress on the spine can hit 60 pounds (27kg) , thanks to the forces of gravity.
Kenneth Hansraj’s, Spinal Surgeon, estimates that “People spend an average of 2-4 hours a day with their heads tilted over reading and texting on their smartphones and devices.
Cumulatively this is 700 to 1,400 hours a year of excess stresses seen about the cervical spine,”
According to the research, older students could spend 5,000 more hours hunched over this way.
“These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration, and possible surgeries,” Hansraj writes.
Hansraj recommends that people should make an effort to look at their phones with a “neutral spine,” sending their eyes downward, not their heads.
Proper upper spine posture, he says, is generally defined as aligning the ears with the shoulders while keeping the shoulder blades pulled back.