The smartphone is easily one of the most exciting innovations of our time. And it brings along many benefits. However, everything has a flipside and this gadget is not any different.
Apart from being a time thief, it also has serious repercussions to your health, as you will see later.
An average mobile phone user glances at their screen at least 110 times a day. Now that you have an idea of how “addicted” you are to the screen, you have to ask yourself whether looking at the mobile phone can ruin your spine.
From many hours of bending over your phone at work, in restaurants, in the train and everywhere else, you know it makes your neck numb. This should raise red flags regarding your spine health.
Bad Posture Is to Blame, Obviously!
In the office, you will be staring at the computer screen for hours, with your head bent at an angle.
And when you can grab some free time at home, you bend your neck and shoulders, hunching over your smartphone as you text on Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, swipe on the Gram, and play your fun games.
At first, you will feel numb in the neck and shoulder areas. But with time, you become used to this hunched posture, and you don’t feel a thing. In fact, you could bend down staring at your phone screen for hours and not feel tired.
However, the long-term effects on your spine will catch up with you sooner than later, and it is impossible to avoid using these devices.
The health hazards affect people working remotely too, because practically everything they are doing, including meetings, is device-based.
So, what is the best posture to adopt when you are using your smartphone and other devices?
To know that you are keeping the spine straight, you should keep the ears aligned with the shoulders every time you are using your smartphone.
Your Head Is Heavier than You Think
The weight of your head is one of the reasons why bending over your phone has been wearing your spine when you bend down in concentration.
On average, the human head weighs 10 to 12 pounds! While that’s a lot of weight, it does not feel heavy, and it should not affect you when you maintain a proper posture.
When you stay hunched over your devices for five hours or longer every day, the weight of the head starts wearing the spine down. Of course, the weight feels more when you keep your head at an angle.
Research shows that keeping the head straight, the weight on your neck remains 12 pounds. If you bend it by a 15-degree angle, the weight on your neck increases to 27 pounds. At 30 degrees, the weight on the neck rises to 40 pounds.
Inclined at an angle of 60 degrees, the weight pulling at your spine is 60 pounds.
The Hours You Spend Hunched Over Your Device
The combination of a poor posture and too many hours on your phone are ruining your health. From an article in the Time magazine, you use 700 to 1400 hours a year on your reading or texting posture.
College and high school students spend more hours, up to 5000 hours a year hunched over their books or devices. This is an awfully lot of time and it causes serious wear and tear on the spine.
Because of school, work, and the need for some happiness and fun, it might be hard to cut down on your usage of these devices, you should really teach yourself how to use them well.
You could start by getting a straight-backed chair. Using an ergonomic office chair keeps your spine well aligned.
Also teach yourself how to use your computer properly. For instance, if you must glance at the keyboard when you are typing, you are likely to stay hunched over. A person who doesn’t need to see the letters as they type doesn’t hunch over.
Signs that Your Spine Is Wearing Out
The thing with the spine is that you will not see the signs of wear and tear immediately. If you are young, the effects of bad smartphone usage might catch up with you in your older age.
But if you have been experiencing neck and head pain, numbness in the shoulders as well, you are wearing yourself too much.
You could also experience back pain. Bending your head at an angle of 60 degrees exerts 60 pounds on the neck. Consequently, the back feels the strain as well.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle like working on a desk many hours a day, studying or driving a truck does not help at all. Combined with hours of bending, you could experience back pain.
When you bend down to do anything, the weight or the pressure you exert on your spine increases by 10 lbs. Inch! Like smoking, texting, and playing phone games might be the “new cancer.”
The American Chiropractic Association says over 35 million Americans saw a chiropractor in 2022. Also, more than 1 million chiropractic adjustments occur in the US every year.
With the revelations on how the smartphone is causing wear and tear on your spine, you need not ask why millions of Americans need spine adjustment yearly.