A touch of health, a way of life

Modern life can be a pain in the neck!

The trusty mobile phone – where would we be without it? It’s gone from being a brick of an accessory to an item that we can’t leave the house without.

We use it as an alarm clock, a newspaper, a music player, a television, a provider of games and not least for communication; whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, iMessage, Facetime, Skype or a good old fashioned voice call.

“According to research which has been published in the National Library of Medicine, ‘text neck’ is a real thing.”

The mobile phone is everything to us, followed by its other gadget-y friends; tablets, games consoles, computers and the like. But as fun and useful as these gadgets are, they’re inevitably starting to ruin our posture.

Chiropractors are reporting an increase in treating people with poor posture, brought on due to their slouching, slumping and hunching habits which a lot of them time, is due to them being engrossed by gadgetry.

People may not notice day to day the impact their love of technology is having on their posture, and may consider the two things to be unconnected, but the facts don’t lie.

Studies show that staring at a smart phone for hours on end each day is having a very tangible impact on early wear-and-tear of the spine. This is due to the weight of the human head and the increase in weight on the cervical spine as the neck bends forward and down. As the neck-bend angle increases from 15 degrees to 60 degrees, the weight on the spine can increase from roughly 27 pounds, to 60 pounds. The study implores that this is equivalent to carrying the average-sized eight year old around your neck. All of a sudden that seems like quite a hefty weight being placed on your spine.

If you take your eyes off your phone and look around, you’ll notice that plenty of the people around you are looking down, whether you’re on a train, in a café, or in a busy street. Reports note that smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours per day hunched over, reading e-mails, sending texts or checking social media sites. That’s 700-1400 hours per year people are putting extra stress on their spines. Medical experts are warning that for every inch the head tilts forward, the pressure on the spine doubles.

Now, we’re unlikely to opt for a phone-detox, as we’ve already listed all the reasons why our phones are everything to us. But what we can do is take steps to help our posture and keep our backs in tip-top condition. Regular chiropractic adjustments are ideal for helping realise the idiosyncrasies of the spine, which may be being caused by technology habits. Hunching can be limited by making an effort to look down at the device with your eyes, without bending your neck.

At Life Chiropractic, we encourage our patients to continue enjoying gadgets as they always have, but remind them to always avoid ‘text neck’ by being aware of their posture, keeping their head up and their spine neutral.

Statistics taken from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/11/20/text-neck-is-becoming-an-epidemic-and-could-wreck-your-spine/?tid=ss_fb

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