Text Neck is spreading fast and could cost you your spine

What is text neck?

Text neck is the usual posture that many of us adopt while staring at our gadgets. It refers to bending the neck forward and down as we read or watch something on our devices. Sounds familiar, afterall?

Text neck

Image courtesy: Dr. Ken Hansraj M.D.

Why is it harmful?

The human head carries weight and it only increases as the angle increases. Increased weight only burdens the cervical spine which undergoes severe wear and tear as time wears on. This weight could reach upto 60 pounds if the head retains an angle of 60 degrees. The burden on the neck doubles with every inch that the head tilts ahead.

What is the importance of weight?

Gadget owners spend two to four hours per day on average to access their email, send text messages and browse the internet. That sums up to around 1,400 hours a year of a nearly hunched back. That’s similar to carrying a heavy baby around the neck for hours. People don’t feel as much in this case since the activities they are engaged in interest them and they more or less consider them necessities.

What happens if this continues?

Medical experts believe that if this trend continues, more young people would require spine care. There many other repercussions; herniated disks, pinched nerves, muscle strain, damaged neck curve and reduced lung capacity can also stem from this epidemic. Neurological problems and headaches should not be uncommon with such people as a result.

What is to be done to avoid harmful effects?

Dr. Kenneth Hansraj from New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine believes that there is always a workaround with technology becoming part of our lives. He stresses the need to make every effort to look at devices with a neutral spine rather than hunching over. You can do this by looking down at the device with your eyes without bending the neck. Secondly, exercise your neck by moving it from left to right while using the hands to push the head against them. Remember, technology is good or bad based on how you make use of it.

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