Have you pleaded with your texting kids to stand up or sit up straight? Usually, their eyes glass over in response as they only hear your words as …blah…blah….blah. Well, according to a new study conducted by Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, Chief of Spine Surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, proof is building to support the claim that our increasing cell phone use is affecting our posture, causing neck and back pain. The study will soon be published in Surgical Technology International.
Here are some highlights from the study as well as CBS News and Siasat Daily, which have recently covered the findings and whose links are below:
- People are spending 2 to 4 hours each day on their cell phones, typically in a bent neck position.
- According to Hansraj, “the average adult head weighs 10 to 12 pounds when it’s in the upright or neutral position. However, because of that pesky thing called physics-gravitational pull-the cranium becomes heavier the more you bend your neck”.
- Bending your head at a 60 degree angle equates to 60 pounds worth of pressure on your cervical spine. (the part of your spine above your shoulders) Tilting your head a mere 15 degrees puts 27 pounds of pressure on your spine; a 30 degree neck tilt could equal 40 pounds of pressure and a 45 degree tilt adds the force of 49 pounds.
- These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration and possibly surgeries.
- According to data, we are in front of screens with our bad posture, whether on smart phones or computers, between 700 and 1400 hours a year!
- Standing tall doesn’t just make you look better, it optimizes your health, too. Other studies have found good posture elevates testosterone and serotonin in the body, and also reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
What does Hansraj suggest regarding our cell phones? “While it is nearly impossible to avoid the technologies that cause these issues, individuals should make an effort to look at their phones with a neutral spine and to avoid spending hours each day hunched over.”