Text Neck: How Your Smartphone Is Affecting Your Spine

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jan 29, 2015
Quick Bites

  • A frequently bent neck hurts the spine.
  • It can cause spinal injuries and headaches.
  • Look at the smartphone screen using only your eyes.
  • Do some regular exercises for your neck.

With the rise of flagship smart phones with cool features and mind blowing configurations, your communication with your folks may have improved but so has your time spent with your smartphone. Ever wondered why your neck feels odd after a long whatsapp session over the phone? Well, it’s called the ‘text neck’, the poor posture created by staring at your smartphone's screen for long. Alarmingly, it has become an epidemic, affecting thousands of people to some extent.

neck pain
When you stare at your smart phone's screen, your neck bends forward and down, making the weight of your head, which is around 5 Kilograms, to put more pressure on your cervical spine. It brings an almost permanent change in your posture. Initially your neck happens to bend and stay at about 15 degrees. At this angle your head feels around 10 kilograms on the neck. With this increased weight feel and continuous staring at your smartphone, your neck bend till 30 degrees over time and the weight of the head feels like 20 Kilo grams.

neck pain

But, that is not all. The neck usually further bends till 45 degrees or even further untill 60 degrees. These observations were made in a recent research published by in the National Library of Medicine. The researchers believe that over time ‘text neck’ caused by staring at the smartphone screen frequently and for long, can also lead to early wear-and-tear on the spine, degeneration to such an extent that it may need a surgery to fix the problem.

With your neck at 60 degrees your head feel almost 27 Kilo grams. It’s like carrying an eight year old child on your neck every time you look at your smartphone screen. Usually people spend two to four hours per day on average looking at their smartphone screen while reading e-mails, sending texts or checking social media sites. It adds up to an average of around 700 to 1,400 stressful hours for their spines every year.

smartphones usage

Unfortunately the problem gets worse in school or college children who spend an average of around 5000 hours every year looking at their smartphone screen with a bent neck. Medical experts say that with increase in the bend the pressure on the spine increases to an extent that for every inch the head tilts forward, the pressure on the spine doubles. Such poor posture can not only harm your spine but it can also reduce lung capacity by as much as 30 percent or cause headaches and neurological issues, depression and heart disease.

Experts recommend that people should not limit their time with the smartphone to only what’s really essential. After all, completely avoiding a smartphone or another gadget is almost impossible today. So make sure that you look at your smartphone screen only when it’s necessary and for short periods only. Also make it a habit not to bend your neck too much when doing something on your smartphone.

Image Courtesy: Getty

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