You may not be hunched over an assembly line for 10 hours a day, but 21st century technology may be even worse for your posture. Tech neck is the new posture syndrome that can have big health consequences, especially as many people now spend 4-8 hours a day texting, tweeting and typing on smartphones and tablets.
Looking down at a phone increases joint stress, making your phone a true pain in the neck
Research shows just how much posture stress from tech device use is hurting our health. According to a recent study, looking down at your phone or computer with just 15 degrees of forward head tilt more than doubles the pressure on the neck and upper back.
An adult head typically weighs 10 to 12 pounds when it’s in a neutral position. But as soon as you begin to tilt your head forward, the amount of weight your neck has to support increases dramatically. Researchers found tilting your head forward just 15 degrees surges the amount of pressure on your spine to 27 pounds. Depending on how far forward your phone habits make you tilt your head, it can add up to a whopping 60 pounds of pressure on your neck and spine!
When you consider on average people spend two to four hours every day with head tilted down texting, surfing, gaming, and reading on smart phones, the increased pressure on your neck adds up and stresses spinal joints and discs. It’s even worse with young adults—one study showed college women spent 10 hours a day on their devices, while college men spent eight hours.
Anything you do repeatedly, especially for so many hours a day trains and changes body posture and functionality. Doctors are seeing increasing numbers of people, from middle school age to older adults, complaining of neck aches, back pain and pinched nerves with many showing signs of early arthritis.
Tech Neck causes more than muscle and joint pain
From vision problems to early lines and wrinkles forming around continuously bent necks, Tech Neck is making people look and feel old before their time. New studies are linking sitting and texting posture with breathing problems, heart disease and other conditions. Paying attention to how you use your body is important to keep your body healthy, pain-free and moving well. Here are five tips to help you prevent Tech Neck:
- Move more - Take active posture breaks during the day
- Keep a level head – Lift phone to eye-level
- Pull your elbows in and roll your shoulders back and down
- Keep your core engaged - it supports your torso, which supports your neck
- Do Strong Posture exercise daily –10 minutes trains you to sit and stand taller
About the Author: International posture expert Steven Weiniger, DC, speaks globally on improving posture for longevity, health, pain relief and aging well. He has trained thousands of physicians and therapists in StrongPosture protocols and authored Stand Taller Live Longer, An Anti-Aging Strategy.