Texting for long hours is taking a toll on the cervical spine
Mobile phones and laptops have become an integral part of our lives in the past few hours. We have lost count of the number of hours we spend daily working on our laptops or texting on our mobile phones. But all this is taking a heavy toll on our spine.
According to a paper published in the journal Surgery Technology International by spinal doctor Kenneth Hansraj, when we hunch over our phones, we are putting an additional weight of 60 pounds on our cervical spine. As per Dr. Hansraj, a good posture is one in which the ears are in alignment with the shoulders and the shoulder blades are in a retracted position. This is an ideal position when the stress on our spine is minimal. But when we are texting, our head is drooping forward putting extra weight on the spine and the shoulders are in a rounded position.
Remaining in a hunched position for long hours may lead to the loss of natural curve of the cervical spine. A normal adult head weighs between 10 to 12 pounds. When we tilt forwards, the force on the cervical spine increases by 27 pounds at 15 degrees, 40 pounds at 30 degrees, 49 pounds at 45 degrees and 60 pounds at 60 degrees. Persistent stress of this much weight can lead to early wear and tear of the spine and degenerative changes which may necessitate the need for corrective surgeries.
According to Dr. Hansraj, an average person spends anywhere between 2 to 4 hours daily hunching over his phone or laptop. This amounts to 700 to 1400 hours of increased stress on the cervical spine. Imagine the toll this would be taking on the neck and back muscles apart from the spine. It also leads to elasticity of the neck skin leading to development of premature jowls. Although one cannot avoid the use of laptops or phones, it will be a good option to maintain a fine posture while working on them so as to minimize the stress on the cervical spine.