There’s no arguing that texting has forever changed the way we communicate. Conversations that once required a phone call are now replaced with short messages, acronyms and emojis. Tasks like ordering pizza and confirming doctor appointments can now be completed with the push of a button. Even college admissions departments have started to send out congratulatory texts instead of the standard acceptance letter. But that isn’t the only way texting affects our everyday lives. Research shows that this revolutionary form of communication is also affecting our posture.
A study published in Surgical Technology International found that our posture during texting can add up to 60 pounds of pressure on the spine. Study author Kenneth K. Hansraj, M.D., a spinal and orthopedic surgeon, calculated the amount of stress placed on the spine by varying degrees of curvature. At zero degrees tilt, the spine only supports the weight of the head – about 10 to 12 pounds. However, as the head begins to tilt forward, its weight increases gravitational pull and places additional pressure on the spine. At a tilt of 15 degrees, the spine supports 27 pounds of pressure. At 30 degrees, the pressure increases to 40 pounds; at 45 degrees, 49 pounds; and at 60 degrees, approximately 60 pounds.
“Loss of the natural curve of the cervical spine leads to incrementally increased stresses about the cervical spine,” said Dr. Hansraj. “These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration, and possibly surgeries.”
While these findings should encourage all of us to be more mindful about our posture when using cell phones and other electronic devices, Hansraj says it isn’t necessary to avoid these devices altogether. He recommends raising mobile devices a few inches closer to your line of sight to avoid slumped posture. Taking frequent breaks from technology and rolling or tilting the head from side to side can also help to keep the neck limber and prevent muscle strain (Source: Medical Daily).