Poor posture from staring at our smartphones, also known as 'text neck', is damaging our spines according research. The research shows as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the neck begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds. This force is equivalent to carrying an eight year old child on the back of your neck. Those who have done that know how uncomfortable that can be after a short time. According to the research these stresses can lead to early wear-and-tear on the neck, degeneration, and even surgery.
While it is nearly impossible to avoid the technologies that cause these issues, individuals should make an effort to look at their phones with a neutral spine and to avoid spending hours each day hunched over.
- Check your posture at regular intervals throughout the day and adjust.
- Take frequent, regular breaks. Try taking a break every 30 minutes by standing up or even going for a short walk.
- Sit up straight when you're using a device.
- Hold up the device a little higher so your neck is not on an angle and look down with your eyes rather than your neck.
- Stretch - if you're using devices for longer periods of time then try taking stretch breaks every 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Hansraj, K. K. (2014). Research: Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture of the head. Surgical Technology International, 1-3.
Physiotherapy.org.nz. (2014, November 24). How to avoid text neck. New Zealand.