Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, one of the top spinal surgeons in the United States, conducted a study on “text neck” and concluded that loss of the natural curve of the cervical spine can lead to early degeneration of the spine. His study showed that an adult head weighs an average of 10-12 lbs. in a neutral position. However, when you bend your head forward about 60 degrees to look down (like on your phone), your head is now the equivalent of 60 lbs to your body.
Because of modern-day hand-held technology, according to Dr. Scott Bautch, from the American Chiropractic Association, “When children have poor posture it tremendously speeds up the gaping of the spine. What we are seeing is degeneration of the spine at younger and younger ages.”
But smart phones aren’t the only culprit in poor posture. Spending hours at a time at a desk, or watching TV, without moving can also be detrimental to your posture. Even with ergonomically designed furniture and standing desks, it’s important to break your posture, or move, every 15 minutes.
“You develop imbalances and you are more likely to hurt yourself in any activity you do.”
It’s all about balance
By sitting in the same position for hours at a time, poor posture overworks one set of muscles while the other set of muscles are underworked. “You develop imbalances and you are more likely to hurt yourself in any activity you do,” concludes Dr. Bautch.
There are things you can do to alleviate some of the modern-day stresses on your body and spine. For starters, always make sure your screen, whether computer screen or smartphone, is at eye-level so you aren’t hunching over. Dictate your texts — that’s what Siri is for. And of course, take a break every 15 to 30 minutes. Your body and mind will thank you for it.