Is Life Damaging Your Spine?

Is modern life becoming a pain in the neck? Are you like the millions of people who spend hours on end every day using a Smartphone or another mobile device? If so, you could be at risk of “text neck”, a new age epidemic that could lead to permanent damage.

You probably don’t put that much thought into the hundreds of messages you send every week on your Smartphone, but texting it is a dangerous habit. The posture we adopt as we stare at our phones significantly increases the stress on the neck and can lead to excessive wear and tear. This is how bad it can be: our heads weigh between 10lb and 12lb, but as we bend our heads downwards to use our phones, the effective weight on our necks increases – a lot! At a 15-degree angle, the head weighs about 27lb, and rises to 60lb at 60 degrees!

With most of us now spending an average of two to four hours a day with our heads dropped down, this results in about 700 to 1,400 hours a year of excess stresses on the cervical spine! This can cause head pain, neck pain, arm pain and even numbness.

Eventually, in conjunction with a sedentary lifestyle, “text neck” could lead to serious consequences. With “text neck” on the rise as more and more people carry out their lives over a mobile phone, it’s important that we’re all aware of how to reduce our risk of developing this modern condition.

The best thing anyone can do to lower the risk of “text neck” is to use voice recognition and make phone calls instead of text messages. It’s also important to take regular breaks and alter your texting positions to avoid problems. You can find a list of useful exercises on the NHS website.

Modern technology moves at a quicker speed than the human body can adapt to, and this is not the first time we have been warned about the dangers of texting.  In 2011, mobile phones were blamed for an increase in pedestrian deaths in the US, with some towns even considering issuing fines for people who text while walking.  Then of course, there was “Blackberry thumb” (repetitive strain injury caused by texting) and “iPad hand” (aches and pains caused by swiping and typing on a tablet).

The list of ailments grows longer with every new piece of technology, and while we can’t ever expect anyone to ditch their devices, we can all put the measures in place to stay healthy as we move with the times.