And How You Can Prevent This from Happening

We have all seen someone take out there phone and gaze down at the illuminated screen. However, have you noticed the resulting posture and neck position?

In an assessment of spine health led by Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation, the “poor posture” caused by cell phone usage forces undue stress on the spine and neck. (1) So much so, that if you have your neck angled 60 degrees downward, it is equivalent to having 60 pounds of pressure on your cervical spine. 

He used a computer model to simulate the amount of weight the neck was subject to as the bending angle increased. The average adult head weighs about 11 pounds; if a person practices proper posture, this weight does not cause any problems (thank goodness). However, when the neck starts to bend for prolonged periods of time, device users beware.

So, what is proper posture? Dr. Hansraj notes that good posture “is defined as ears aligned with the shoulders and . . . the shoulder blades, retracted.” (1) In addition to reducing the chances you may need to visit a doctor for your neck pain, individuals practicing good posture experience “increases in serotonin, decreases in cortisol, and increased feelings of power.” (1) This means you may feel better, less stressed, and more in control: all nice things to be.

The next time you find yourself hunched over your phone, remind yourself that you could be slowly degrading the health of your spine. That fact should be enough motivation to angle your neck 100° to 0° real quick.

1. Hansraj, Kenneth K., MD. "Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and Position of the Head." Surgical Technology International XXV (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 

Cover image original photo by Was a bee via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution