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By Emily
May 31, 2016
Tags: exercise   ergonomics   pain   neck   texting  

Text neck is a term used to describe neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long, according to Dr. Steven Shoshany.

How do you know if you've got text neck? Below are a few common symptoms:

  • Tightness across the shoulders
  • Headaches
  • Neck soreness
  • Pain in the back, arms, fingers, hands, wrists and/or elbows
  • Numbness and tingling in upper extremities
  • Sounds all too familiar to you?

Nowadays, smartphone users spend an average of 2-4 hours per day (at the very least) hunched over, reading emails, texting or checking social media. That's equal to 700-1,400 hours per year that people are putting stress on their spines!

Dr. Kenneth Hansraj recently conducted a study assessing the stresses in the spine caused by head posture and position, which you can read here. The adult human head weighs about 10-12 pounds in the neutral position. As the head flexes forward at varying degrees, the weight inflicted on the spine dramatically increases. You can see in the diagram above that as the head tilts forward, the forces on the spine increase from 27 to 60 pounds*!

*60 pounds on your spine is like carrying an 8-year-old around your neck for several hours a day!

Loss of spinal curvature leads to increased stresses on the spine, which may lead to premature wear and tear, degeneration, and possibly eventual surgery. Though it may be difficult to avoid our beloved modern technologies, it is highly recommended to make an effort to look at your devices with a neutral spine and avoid spending hours hunched over your devices - remember to take breaks!