Texting, A Pain-in-the-Neck

Amount of weight on your neck when having

Amount of weight on your neck when having “text neck”

At the rate new generations of iPhones and other smartphones are being released, this generation of people is not able to keep up. New electronics are literally becoming a pain-in-the-neck; as people continue to look down at their phones, they are increasing the stress on their necks. This has been dubbed “text neck”.  The next time you decide to stealthily text in class– remember that the “staring at the crotch” appearance can be harmful, even if you don’t feel it.

As your head increases the forward tilt down, the effective weight on your spine increases almost exponentially. This adds unnecessary damage to it. A 2011 study conducted by Pew Internet and American Life Project concluded that teens use their cellphones an average of 60 times a day– that is 60 times of stress on the spine on average per day.

James Harkey, a senior, admits that he uses his phone 3-4 hours in total a day. “Sometimes I’ll watch a whole movie,” Harkey says.

The implications of “text neck” can be dangerous. A spine study done by Kenneth K. Hansraj, MD, Chief of Spine Surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehab discusses the effect on posture and the curve on the spine:

“Poor posture invariably occurs with the head in a tilted forward position and the shoulders drooping forward in a rounded position. Loss of the natural curve of the cervical spine leads to incrementally increased stresses about the cervical spine. These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration, and possibly surgeries.”

In a generation where texting is so common, anyone participating in texting should be aware of how far forward they are bending. From 15 degrees to 30 degrees, the pressure goes from 27 pounds to 40 pounds. This is a common root to slouching and postural change.

Dr. Dean Fishman, a chiropractor in Florida, is an advocate for “Text Neck Prevention”. He has created an app that lets you know when you hold your smartphone in an ‘at-risk’ position. Enabling this app could help reduce the prevalence of this new epidemic.

While the new iPhones may still be coming out, new spines are not: don’t stress your’s out.