How many hours a day are you spending on your phone checking your email, looking at your planner/calendar, on Snapchat/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, and playing games? If you’re like me, most of your life is stored in the Cloud, and I’m rarely without my iPhone. If you are on the phone for more than 30 minutes a day, then you could be at risk of developing Text Neck. Text Neck is an emerging epidemic due to the technology explosion of the 21st century. It is possible that your phone is destroying your posture, and therefore, your health. (Tip: scroll to the bottom to see how to properly hold your phone while you finish reading this article.)
The neck of the human body is a bio-mechanical marvel.
It possesses a wide range of mobility in nearly every direction. The neck serves as a conduit for the major blood vessels to the brain and is the primary pathway of the central nervous system. The cervical (neck) region is one of the most important areas of the body and a growing body of research clearly shows that its structural integrity and function are absolutely critical to overall health and healing.
The brain and the spinal cord make up the central nervous system. The spinal cord is often thought of as just a cable that transmits nerve messages, but it is actually a direct part of the brain. The spinal cord plays a crucial role in the health and homeostasis of the human body by sending and receiving billions of nerve messages every single second.
The curves of the spine are important because they allow the spine to support more weight and to withstand more stress than if it were straight. This is because the curves increase resistance to axial compression — that is, head-to-toe squishing of the spine. That means ten times more weight can be supported by a curved spine than if it was straight.
Technology V.S. Health
Technology is shaping and changing our world in so many ways. In fact, so rapidly that we don’t know how to handle/live with it yet. Take for instance the average person who is bent over texting or hunched over on a computer for hours on end. This is slowly destroying the integrity of your spine, especially the cervical spine. The C shaped curve which I mentioned above soon becomes straight, and it’s downhill from there. I see young kids on a regular basis with a reversed curve in their neck, which will soon enough send them down the path of pain and suffering in their future. Look at this illustration below to see how much extra weight is put on your spine every time you look down to text.
The cervical spine supports the weight of the head, which weighs between 10-14 pounds — about the same as a bowling ball. With proper posture, the weight of the head is held directly above the center of gravity. In a forward head position (or Anterior Head Syndrome), the head is held ahead of the center of gravity and results in a stress load on the cervical spine that is equivalent to the weight of the head multiplied by the number of inches the head is forward from the center. If you find yourself working at a desk all day then you best read this article for the details on How To Protect Your Spine while working at your desk.
So imagine how much extra, unnecessary weight you put on your spine every time you look down at your phone. Now imagine how many times a day that you do this. This stress on the spine, compiled over many years, leads to degeneration and loss of integrity of the spine.
We have seen a huge increase in the number of spinal surgeries and the number is expected to increase. You can see the statistics below.
So not only is it important to protect your spine at your desk, but it is also vital to avoid constantly bending your neck down to text and view your phone. A simple, easy solution is bring your phone up to meet your eyes.
Proper Texting Positions
Begin now to make a conscious effort to adjust how you hold and use your mobile device to avoid damaging your posture and getting text neck.