The Truth Behind Tech Neck!
We love our smartphones. So much so, according to comScore’s 2017 Cross Platform Future in Focus report, the average American adult, eighteen and older, spends 2 hours, 51 minutes on their smartphone every day. However, over time, we are starting to see that, while smartphones can make our lives easier, they are causing wear and tear to our spines.
Our head weights 10-15 pounds. When we tilt it forward to look down, as we do to look at our phone, gravity gets involved, increasing the stress to our necks. New York back surgeon Kenneth Hansraj, created a computer program to determine just how much stress is put on our spine when looking down.
Hansraj’s findings, published in Surgical Technology International, showed that the farther forward we tilt our head, the more weight we put on our spine. Check out the table below to see just how much.
|Angle of head tilt||Pounds of pressure experienced|
|15 degrees||27 pounds|
|30 degrees||40 pounds|
|45 degrees||49 pounds|
|60 degrees *||60 pounds|
*the most common posture for looking down at a phone screen
Don’t worry you do not have to banish your phone to save your neck. Improving your posture by holding the phone up at eye level, rather than hunching over, can help. Additionally, because our heads are heavier than we realize, it is important to work on strengthening the neck to better support the head.
Click here for everyday stretch and strengthening exercise to improve posture and reduce the stress on your spine.
Hansraj, K.K. (2014) Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine caused by Posture and Position of the Head. Surgical Technology International, 25, 277-279.