We have become a society glued to our mobile phones. Texting has become one of the most popular ways to communicate with each other. But texting comes at a price. The more we text, the more pain we can experience in our neck, shoulders and back. It has similar side effects as what you would see from someone sitting at a computer all the time. The body is often positioned with stationary shoulders and back with neck down and slouched forward. People spend on average two hours a day looking down at their cell phones. Leaning over to text is equivalent to adding sixty pounds of weight on your neck. The hunch over position can also lead to breathing issues in your future as well.
The effects of long term forward neck posture can lead to long term muscle strain, disc herniations and pinched nerves. An adult head weighs 10 to 12 pounds in the neutral position. As the head tilts forward the forces seen by the neck surges to 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees. To put the 60 pounds of weight into perspective, think of six sacks of potatoes, six large watermelons or an 8 year-old child. Good posture is when the ears are aligned with the shoulders and shoulder blades. Changing the spine’s natural curvature will lead to more stress over time and cause wear, tear, degeneration and may lead to the need for surgery.
Studies are now coming out showing that texting and using mobile devices for long periods of time could lead to a lower life expectancy. The hunched over posture adopted by phone or tablet users can cause breathing problems, leading to cardiovascular issues later in life causing an increased risk of death in older age. When you are hunched over you are causing strain on your heart and your ribs cannot move properly causing your heart and lungs not to function to their full effectiveness. Constantly being hunched over will cause future problems with your cardiovascular system.
Here are some tips for avoiding neck pain:
- Use your eyes range of motion to look down rather than tilting your head down.
- Keep stretching your neck muscles. Tilt your head, bringing your ear to your shoulder on both sides and hold.
- Stand in a doorway, extend your arms and push your chest forward. This will stretch and strengthen your muscles you use for good posture.
Try doing those exercises and stretches twice a day while being conscious at maintaining good posture.
The popularity of texting for communication means it won’t be going away anytime soon but in order to preserve your spine, neck, back and breathing, be aware of your posture. Correct yourself when you feel you are hunched over. Maintaining good posture will help you eliminate the potential for future health problems down the road.
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