Health risks associated with mobile phones
In the past few years, the number of smartphone users has progressively increased worldwide. For the majority of us, it is unthinkable to run our everyday life without an electronic device. One of the health risks associated with excessive use of mobile phones is the ” text neck “.
Millions of people do it throughout the day and are totally unaware that mobile phone use can be detrimental to the neck and back. With the growing use of smartphones, the medical professions are reporting an increase of musculoskeletal problems associated with the prolonged use of smartphones. The use of these devices influences our posture and body mechanics in unhealthy ways that contribute to neck, upper back, shoulder, and arm pain. Furthermore, poor posture while sitting, standing, walking, or in a static position can lead to more than upper body pain and stiffness—poor posture affects other parts of the spine, such as the middle and low back. Moreover, breathing can be affected.
Did you know that the use of the mobile phone can double or triple the weight of your head and can strain your neck?
How much does a human head weigh?
Typically, an adult human head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds. As the head tilts or angles forward, the cervical spine’s (neck) muscles, tendons, and ligaments support the head during movement and when static; such as holding the head in a forward tilted position. Even the neck’s intervertebral discs are involved and help absorb and distribute the forces exerted on the neck.
How much heavier is the human head when tilted forward?
The strain on your neck rises as the forward angle of your head increases.
- At 15 degrees of forward tilt may equate to a head weighing 27 pounds.
- At 30 degrees forward, the strain on the neck equals a 40-pound head.
- The greater the angle, the greater the strain: – 45 degrees forward equals 49 pounds of strain, and 60 degrees forward equals 60 pounds.
Now consider the fact that the average person is holding his or her head forward to look at a phone or read a tablet for 2 to 4 hours a day. Are you surprised now if your neck gets stiff? Teenagers spend even more time each day looking down at their devices. As you tilt your head, you also move your shoulders forward into a rounded position, which is another aspect of poor posture. All this excess strain creates extra wear and tear on the structures of the neck, upper spine and back, and contributes to/can lead to spinal degeneration.
Postural awareness a positive first step
Making good posture a habit can help prevent a text neck or back pain from developing, along with related posture and biomechanical problems. Good posture means that your head is upright, your ears are in line with your shoulders, and your shoulder blades are down and retracted.
In proper alignment, spinal stress is diminished. It is the most efficient position for the spine,
Good posture is not only good for the health of your spine; it is good for your over-all health and mood as well.
However, modern life still requires you to check your phone or use your tablet many times a day. How do you do that and safeguard your neck?
- First, don’t use your cell phone or your tablet for extended computer work
- Use your desktop or laptop computer for extended work and make sure these devices are arranged ergonomically.
- When you use a cell phone, instead of bending your head to look down at it, raise your phone.
- When you are reading the screen, bring the phone up level or just a little below your face.
- Set reminders (like your phone timer) to shift positions, too. “It’s so easy to look up from your phone and realize that your neck hurts because you’ve been so absorbed in what you were doing for 30 minutes
- Resting a tablet on a thigh or table — as opposed to giving it to your kids to hold — can also ease the weight exerted on hands and wrists. And hopefully your older kids are already using two hands to text — it puts less strain on any one thumb and helps support the phone.
In my clinic I see more frequently children with neck, shoulder, or low-back problems —”text neck” — and it’s all related to how and for how long they sit.
They suffer of muscle spasm from literally having the head bent and looking down the whole time, I just look at their posture and it’s terrible. Kids and young adults come in and they sit completely slouched.
And while text neck is essentially an overuse injury, missing out physical playtime is what we call an underuse injury. The entire spinal column is lined on either side with very strong erector muscles that support the core. If those muscles are not actively engaged while you’re sitting, then they just weaken over time. If you’re not supporting your spine, the forces are being distributed across abnormally and it ends up causing pain.”
Prevention is probably the best thing to do, which is not to take screens away. It’s to be smart in how you deploy them and introduce variety into kids’ lives.”
If you suffer of a Text neck or lower back call us on 0191 296 0567 or book online https://swissphysio.co.uk/bookings/Published on: 21st June 2019