Cell Phones… Advancements but Arthritis (ft. Coach Sarah)
February 10, 2017
Your cell phone is aging your spine.
In a day and age where our technology is so rapidly advancing, our posture is becoming progressively decrepit. The average American spends countless hours each day typing, swiping, or tapping cell phone or tablet screens, sitting or standing slouched forward with rounded shoulders and angling their heads down to their hands to catch wind of the latest update, text, or Pokémon.
Nearly 90% of all teens and adults have a cell phone and the texting craze is apparent everywhere we look, especially with the youthful generation. The term “text neck,” more scientifically known as “anterior head carriage,” describes the neck pain, associated symptoms such as headaches, and damage occurring in the spine from looking down at our cell phones constantly; allowing the head and shoulders to fall forward into the posture your mother never wanted you to have. A typical head tilt while texting is approximately 45⁰ causing the average 10-12 lb head to weigh nearly 50 lbs. Every inch the head falls forward adds an extra 10lbs of pressure on the cervical spine. That is too much stress for the neck to be carrying!
Constantly sitting or standing with poor posture leads to permanent postural changes and a decrease in the curve of the cervical spine- our God-given shock absorber. The postural deformities lead to early degeneration of the vertebral discs located between each vertebra, as well as arthritis in the cervical spine, even in young people. Neck pain is a pain in the neck. Postural changes occur prior to pain showing its ugly face, so don’t wait until it is too late to pay attention to posture and prevent “text neck” with all if the unfortunate side effects.
How do we avoid “text neck” and prevent early degenerative changes for ourselves, our children, our families, and friends? Since cell phones are here to stay, give these suggestions a try:
- When using your cell phone, raise the screen up to eye level, so your head is in a neutral position. Remember to switch arms every few minutes! Not only does this improve posture, but you get a little deltoid workout simultaneously!
- Take breaks from cell phone usage, especially when you feel the shoulders and head falling forward. Reset your spine, stand up and stretch, and take a little walk before resuming screen time.
- Get adjusted by your chiropractor to ensure the spine is free from harmful subluxations further contributing to the development of “text neck!”