The hunchback of Notre Dame has nothing on today’s text-savvy society! Recent reports have found bending your head and/or hunching over your smartphone is putting lots of extra stress on your cervical spine. This “texting” posture could eventually lead to early degeneration and spinal surgeries if people are not careful. The spine surgeons at American Spine want patients to be cognizant of this behavior and make the necessary changes to reduce their chance of needing surgery down the road.
In a neutral position (head is tilted 0 degrees), an adult head weighs roughly 10 to 12 pounds. Every degree you tilt forward puts pressure on the neck and upper parts of the spine, which could result in neck or upper back pain. Moreover, when your spine is put into stressful positions for extended periods of time, the degeneration process begins resulting in conditions like arthritis, disc bulges and nerve impingement.
To get a better understanding of how varying tilt degrees affect the spine, see the table below:
0° Head Tilt = 10-12 pounds of added pressure
15° Head Tilt = 27 pounds of added pressure
30° Head Tilt = 40 pounds of added pressure
45° Head Tilt = 49 pounds of added pressure
60° Head Tilt = 60 pounds of added pressure
In order to reduce your chances of developing spinal conditions, the team at American Spine recommends bringing your phone as close to eye-level as possible while texting. Additionally, doing little exercises to keep your spine and neck limber can help reduce your risk of developing a spinal condition. Try to following exercises at least once or twice a day:
- Move your head from left to right (swivel your head you’re your looking in either direction) and side to side by touching your ears to each shoulder.
- Be aware of your posture, sit up straight with your shoulder blades retracted
- Push your head back with your hands, placed behind your head, pushing forward. This exercise will create some resistance and strengthen the muscles in your neck.
At American Spine, we are dedicated to treating chronic pain and spine conditions. Offering the latest in minimally invasive spine surgery and other effective treatment options, American Spine is the leading pain physician group of California. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (951)-734-PAIN (7246).
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.
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