Did you know that as your head is misaligned forward from your shoulders, the heavier the weight of your head becomes? At 0 degrees of forward head position, your head weighs about 10-12 pounds? The further forward your head flexes from your shoulders, the heavier the head becomes. By 30 degrees of head flexion, your head weighs 40 pounds. By the time your head is at 60 degrees, it weighs about 60 pounds. This is like holding a small child on your shoulders!
The more your head moves forward, it shifts the center of the gravity. This causes the upper spine to shift backward to counteract the forward head shift, and the hips then tilt forward to compensate for the upper spine. You can see how one area of the body under stress affects adjacent areas.
Imagine the prolonged affects all of this pressure has on the muscles, ligaments, vertebrae, and discs in the neck and the upper thoracic regions. Smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours a day hunched over, reading emails, sending texts, and checking social media sites. That adds up to about 700 to 1,400 hours a year of extra stress people are putting on their spines. High school students may be at most risk. They conceivably spend an additional 5,000 hours in this position.
Below are some strategies that can mitigate the risks posed by excess use of electronic devices:
- Be mindful of your posture.
- Hold the device at eye level.
- Look down with your eyes not with your neck.
- Use a phone or tablet holder so your arms and shoulders can relax.
- Take a three minute break for every 15 to 20 minutes spent on your device.
Dr. Chait has been helping people in the Sarasota area with their health problems and postural issues for over 30 years. Call us at 941-371-1070 to schedule a complimentary posture analysis and consultation to see how texting is affecting your posture.