Ever lost your cellphone? If so, you know all too well how it can be your lifeline for texting, reading news, connecting socially, and more. But hunching over your phone could be doing more harm than you know.
A Weighty Issue
Researchers found that millions of Americans suffer neck strain from looking down at their cellphones frequently. In fact, “text neck” is a real problem that occurs when overusing your phone puts excessive strain on your spine. This can cause injury and increase the risk for premature spinal degeneration.
Your spine supports your head, which weighs about 10 pounds. When you tilt forward to look down at your phone, gravity causes the weight to increase. And pressure on your spine can shoot up to 60 pounds or more—and stay there if you get caught in a long game of Candy Crush.
Preventing Text Neck
You don’t have to give up your phone to have a healthy spine. Take steps to head off problems:
- Raise your phone closer to eye level.
- Reply to long emails using a computer. Or make a phone call.
- Take frequent breaks. This habit offers spine relief and can reduce headaches from eye strain.
Take Time to Do a Few Quick Exercises:
To relieve neck tension: Nod your head up and down slowly a few times. Then, holding one arm behind your back, use your opposite hand to gently press your head to one side until you feel the stretch. Repeat on the other side.
To counteract poor posture: Hold on to the sides of a doorjamb with both arms at a 90 degree angle. Lean your body forward through the doorway until you feel a gentle stretch across the chest.
This post is brought to you by the Western Connecticut Health Network.