Smartphones and Spinal Health
Smartphones are far more common today than ever before, and now are commonly in the hands of children and teenagers. Texting is overtaking calling and more time is spent on smartphones than anywhere else. For an average of 2-4 hours a day, millions of people around the world stare at their iPhones and Androids. Many people are starting to realize that with this advancement in technology there could also be some consequences that are going unseen. Many people are questioning whether looking down for such prolonged periods of time could be the cause of some common issues in adults as well as our teenagers.
The average human head typically weighs around 12 pounds, but as the head moves forward more stress and added weight get put on the cervical spine (the neck). Research shows that up to 60 pounds of stress can be placed on the spine as the head moves forward. Many surgeons are calling for a change, realizing that this added stress to the neck of teenagers and adults can cause early wear and tear, degeneration, and even surgery to the neck.
On average smartphone users spend 2 to 4 hours a day on their phone. This means 14 to 28 hours a week are spent with stress on the spine. This repetitive stress can actually change the shape and curvature of the neck leading to significant issues on health and the nervous system. The neck should have a 40-degree curve, forming a C shape. As stress is placed on the neck from the head going forward, it can start to straighten and over time, if allowed to progress, can start curving the opposite direction. This over time can place excessive stress on the discs, causing herniations and early degeneration.
The latest technology is being used by Chiropractors today to determine if “text neck” is affecting in the nervous system as well. This technology uses Surface EMG and Thermography to determine the level of stress being placed on the nervous system.
This has become an increasingly common problem amongst teenagers, leading to increased incidences of migraines, headaches, inattention, trouble focusing, neck pain, poor posture, as well as other issues.
This change in curvature and increased stress on the spine can lead to serious health and neurological concerns as well, especially in children and teenagers. Experts believe it can lead to headaches, migraines, ADHD, neurological issues, depression, and even heart disease.
Technology has come a long way and we need to be ready to adapt to some of the consequences of this new technology. It’s important to make sure you and your child are staying current on regular spinal examinations/corrections from your Chiropractor to make sure you do not incur stress and damage to your spine and nervous system. It’s also important to make sure you are maintaining good posture throughout your day and doing the proper exercises to counteract the stress of poor posture. Make sure to sit tall, pull the shoulders back, and tighten your core.
Have you ever heard of spine transplant? Neither have I so make sure you take care of the one you have. If damage is done to the spine it can take months and in the worst cases over a year to correct the damage done. Even though this problem is correctable, waiting until you have a problem can do more harm than good. Your Chiropractor can analyze your X-rays and examine your spine to determine the health of your spine and nervous system.
Have you and your child checked by a Chiropractor to determine if you or your child are suffering from “text neck” — call our office for an appointment today!