The Crusader Newspaper Group

The subtle damage you do each time you look down to text

The average person spends two to four hours a day hunched over their phone reading emails, surfing the net, sending text messages or checking Facebook and other social medial sites. These two to four hours can be as high as five or six hours during times away from work such as the holidays.

Although the introduction of smartphones have made our lives easier by having Internet at our fingertips, a new study suggests that looking down at a cell phone is equivalent to placing a 60 pound weight on ones neck.

The study, published in The Journal of Surgical Technology International in 2014, showed that the human head weighs about a dozen pounds but as the neck bends down and forward, the weight on the cervical spine (neck) begins to increase with each increasing angle.

For example, when your neck is bent forward at 30 degrees, there is about 40 pounds of weight that is placed on the cervical spine. At 45 degrees, it’s 49 pounds. That’s the burden that comes with staring at a phone texting or surfing the net for hours at a time. As you hold this position for prolonged times, the cervical muscles and tissue become inflamed causing muscle strain, pinched nerves and even herniated discs.

Over time, these extra pounds and stress placed on the neck can lead to early wear and tear, degeneration and eventually leading to spine surgery. Having this poor posture can also lead to other problems such as headaches, depression, lung problems and heart disease.

What can you do to prevent this?

  • Look down at your phone with your eyes, not your neck.
  • Hold your cell phone or other electronic devices at eye level.
  • Avoid spending hours a day hunched over your phone or take frequent breaks.
  • Try voice control. A lot of phones come with voice control which can minimize the time spent bending over to text or send an email.

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