We’ve all heard of blackberry thumb right? How about Nintendo thumb or gamer’s grip? The newest edition to that category is now “text neck” which is increasing in youth and adults since smartphones and tablets hit the market. As obvious as it sounds, looking down at your phone or tablet for too long can not only cause strain to your neck but it can also lead to some serious posture problems! So hold off on your group text or Harry Potter e-book for a few minutes and consider the following:
Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, found that looking at a phone at a 60 degree angle is about the same as applying 60 extra pounds of force on the spine. That’s about the weight of a collie or an 8-year-old child attached to your body! I don’t know about you, but if I am going to be carrying around that kind of weight I would rather it be in a backpack while I am hiking up the Rocky Mountains for a three month date with nature (or scenic destination of choice!). Even a 15 degree angle adds approximately 27 extra unwanted pounds to your day. According to Hansraj’s study, people spend an average of two to four hours a day with their heads tilted down, reading and texting. That’s 700 to 1,400 hours of extra force on the spine each year (and an extra 5,000 hours a year for high school students) hunched over. So every time you feel a slouch coming on, think of your grandmother fixing your posture and telling you to stand up straight! Or you could be losing your battle with gravity, my friends.
Not only does all of that sound like a real pain in the neck (pun intended), but think about how it can impact other areas of your life too. We are becoming more focused on our digital presence and letting personal interaction become less of a priority. Have you ever been talking to someone and they don’t even look up because they are on their phone? Or out to dinner with a friend and noticed that they are having an intimate moment with their Facebook status instead of listening to the status update of your life? You could be that person. We encourage you to break up with your electronic device and engage more with people; your spine and relationships will thank you later!