We love our smartphones. Having what is essentially a super computer in our pockets has made daily life so much easier. However, as times goes on, we start to see that, while smartphones can improve our lives, they are causing severe damage to our spine. This wear and tear can lead to spine degeneration, and even surgery.
This may seem impossible , but its important to remember that our head can weight between 10-15 pounds. When we tilt our heads forward - like we do for those our we spend look at our phone screen - gravity gets involved, and the results can be painful. New York back surgeon Kenneth Hansraj created a computer program to determine just how much stress is put on our spine when we are looking down at our phone.
Hansragj's findings, published in the Surgical Technology International, showed that the farther forward we tilt our head, the more weight we put on our spine. At 15° we're experiencing 27lbs of pressure, 30° results in 40 lbs of pressure, 45° creates 49 lbs. of pressure, and at the full 60° - the common posture for looking down at a phone screen - we're putting 60 lbs of weight on our neck. That's roughly the same as four full sized bowling balls.
Right about now your neck should be aching just thinking about 4 bowling balls on your neck, or maybe it was already aching because you just spent your morning looking at Facebook on your phone but now it's lunch time so it's on to Instagram and Twitter. I'm not saying you have to banish the social media world. Improving your posture by just holding you phone up to eye level, rather than hunching over, can help remove some of those bowling balls wearing you down.
Additionally, our heads are heavier than we realize. It's important to work on strengthening the heck to better support the head. Learn a few easy neck strengthening and stretching exercises from my past blog posts: Text Neck - Why Doing Nothing Is Something Over Time and Stretch More Stress Less