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Beware of Text Neck!
The human head weighs about a dozen pounds. But as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine increases exponentially. At a 30° angle, the weight is about 45lbs, and at 60°, it’s 60lbs. That’s the burden that comes with staring at a smartphone the way millions do for hours every day. Over time, this poor posture, sometimes called “text neck,” can lead to early wear-and-tear on the spine and degeneration.
An 8yr Old On My Neck?
Can’t grasp the significance of 60 pounds? Imagine carrying an 8-year-old around your neck several hours per day. Smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours a day hunched over, reading e-mails, sending texts, or checking social media sites. “The problem is really profound in young people,” says Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine. “I would like to see parents showing more guidance.”
What's The Risk?
Tom DiAngelis, president of the American Physical Therapy Association‘s Private Practice Section, explained, “As you stretch the tissue for a long period of time, it gets sore, it gets inflamed." It can also cause muscle strain, pinched nerves, herniated disks and, over time, it can even remove the neck’s natural curve. “Individuals should make an effort to look at their phones with a neutral spine and to avoid spending hours each day hunched over.”
What Can I Do?
Hansraj said that smartphone users should, "Look down at your device with your eyes. No need to bend your neck. You can continue to enjoy your smartphones and continue to enjoy this technology, just make sure your head is up.”