Text Neck – It’s Real

In a recent Washington Post article, research performed by Dr. Ken Hansraj, MD, Chief of Spine Surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, shows how your addiction to your phone could be causing a condition known as “text neck”.

Your Head Gets Heavy

Dr. Hansraj’s study explores the poor posture associated with staring down at your phone. Your head weights around 12 pounds. No big deal when it’s supported by a straight column of vertebrae. However, as your neck begins to bend, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase dramatically. The angle of your neck, when staring at your phone, is typically 60 degrees. The weight of your head increases to 60 pounds. It’s estimated that every inch the head tilts forward, the pressure on the spine doubles.

“To put it in context,” says K. Samer Shamieh, MD, “Imagine having an 8-year-old on your shoulders at a Mardi Gras parade…all day long.”

According to the Post article, smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours per day hunched over their phones, reading e-mails, sending texts or checking Facebook. That’s 700 to 1,400 hours per year people are putting stress on their cervical spines. High School kids may be most at risk, spending a whopping 5,000 hours in this compromised position, according to the study.

Younger People Most at Risk

“The problem is really profound in young people,” Dr. Hansraj told the Post, “With this excessive stress in the neck, we might start seeing young people needing spine care. I would really like to see parents showing more guidance.”

“The problem is really profound in young people,” Dr. Hansraj told the Post, “With this excessive stress in the neck, we might start seeing young people needing spine care. I would really like to see parents showing more guidance.”

Your mom wasn’t just being a nag when she told you to stand up straight. Poor posture has been linked to a wide range of health problems including headaches, depression, heart disease and reduced lung capacity.

How to Avoid “Text Neck”

Dr. Hansraj shared the following tips to avoid phone-induced neck pain:

  1. Look down at your phone with your eyes while keeping your neck straight.
  2. Regularly flex your neck left to right throughout the day. Use your hands to gently push against your head, first forward and then backward.
  3. Stand in a doorway with your arms extended. Push your chest forward to strengthen “the muscles of good posture,” Hansraj said.

Technology is here to stay. Rather than fighting it, be aware of your posture. It’s okay to enjoy your phone as long as you use your head.

Advanced Spine Care

DISC of Louisiana treats spine conditions like “text neck” with the most advanced techniques and technologies available. DISC of Louisiana is a locally owned Orthopaedic Spine Group specializing in the treatment of degenerative disc disease, as well as a wide range of other spinal conditions. Our doctors specialize in the latest minimally invasive spinal procedures before unavailable here in south Louisiana.

 

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