Did you know?
So, what exactly are these contemporary conveniences doing to our bodies? A surgeon-led study published in Surgical Technology International assessed what impact surgeons’ head and neck posture during surgery—a posture similar to that of smartphone texters—has on their cervical spines. With each degree that our heads flex forward (as we stare at a screen below eye level), the strain on our spines dramatically increases. When an adult head (that weighs 10 to 12 pounds in the neutral position) tilts forward at 30 degrees, the weight seen by the spine climbs to a staggering 40 pounds, according to the study.
How pervasive of a problem is this? According to the study, the average person spends 14 to 28 hours each week with their heads tilted over a laptop, smartphone, or similar device. Over the course of a year, that adds up to 700 to 1400 hours of strain and stress on our spines. As a result, the number of people dealing with headaches, achy necks and shoulders, and other associated pain has skyrocketed. Trained to address postural changes and functional declines, our team of physical therapists are well-versed in treating this modern-day phenomenon, widely known as “text neck.”
Long term effects on your neck and back
Over time, this type of poor posture can have a cumulative effect, leading to spine degeneration, pinched nerves and muscle strains. Scheduling an appointment with one of our physical therapists can help people learn how to interact with their devices without harming their spines. Our team can prescribe an at-home program that includes strategies and exercises that focus on preserving the spine and preventing long-term damage.
Exercise is an important part of taking care of our spines as we age, but what we do when we’re not in motion matters, too. So next time you pick up your smartphone or curl up with your e-reader, do a quick check of your head and neck posture. Your body will thank you for years to come. Contact us to learn how we can help.