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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Monday, November 24, 2014

Excessive Texting Causes More Damage Than You Think

We all know that texting and driving is dangerous. But did you know that texting can be a danger to your neck and spine too? There has been a steady increase in neck and back pain due to the forward head posture that comes with the constant use of a handheld device or phone.

A new study in the journal Surgical Technology International examined this trend in neck pain and calculated the amount of force exerted on the head while looking down. Researchers found that your head bears the weight of approximately sixty pounds when you assume the texting position.

Sixty pounds is roughly the weight of four adult-sized bowling balls. Or six plastic grocery bags full of food. Or an 8-year-old. Now imagine any of those things sitting on the back of your neck for an extended period of time - not good.

A New York back surgeon came up with this figure via a computer model of the human spine. The average head weighs about 10 to 12 pounds, and tipping it down to check a phone increases the gravitational pull on the neck exponentially.

This diagram demonstrates how the pressure bearing down on your neck surges at various inclinations resulting in possible muscle strains, disc herniation, and even pinched nerves.

To avoid stress on your spinal system, orthopedists advise taking frequent breaks from your phone, about every 20 minutes, and performing light neck and shoulder stretches.

Also try raising your hand to eye level so that you are looking at the phone straight on, granting your neck muscles a much-needed rest.

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