To the surprise of absolutely nobody at all, spine experts have noticed that more people are reporting neck and upper back pain, possibly due to poor posture related to extended smartphone use.
According to the recent report in The Spine Journal (3 guesses what this journal is about), the people reporting spinal issues are getting younger and younger.
Specifically, the spinal problems are related to the curve of the neck. Normally, the neck is supposed to curve backwards, when viewed through an X-ray. Due to people spending more and more time looking down at the smartphones, the curve is being bent the wrong way.
When people who didn’t grow up with smartphones are experiencing these spinal pain and alignment problems, what’s going to happen to kids who are already spending way too much time on their phones?
Your Head Grows Heavier
The study went into a little more detail about this and discovered that people normally hold their necks at 45 degrees, which get worse when they sit down. As expected, the impact is worse when the angle increases.
At the neutral position, facing straight ahead, the head weighs about 4.5 to 5.5 kg. At just a 15-degree flex, the weight already feels like 12 kg. Up to 60 degrees, it reaches an incredible 27 kg.
That’s Why Younger People Are Getting Spine Problems
Imagine a child having to constantly carry weight close to 20 kg on their neck/spine. People are generally thought to only face spinal problems later in life and might require surgery or treatment much later.
Now, a child might have to face such problems as early as their 30s.
However, these problems can be mitigated, or at least controlled, to a certain extent.
And the solution is quite simple, too.
Simply hold your smartphone at eye level in front of the face to reduce the strain on your neck. Unfortunately, you’ll have to deal with the strain on your arms.
You could also exercise your neck and shoulder muscles to strengthen them, and reduce the damage.
Or, you know, just take breaks. Even micro-breaks of a few seconds can help.
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