The scornful remarks about teenagers being “glued” to their cell phones have been circling for ages – it’s hard to find a teenager who isn’t either talking, texting, or playing on their phone. However, as wireless devices grow in popularity, it isn’t just teenagers who are turning to them on a daily basis. In 2013, a study found that 91% of adults in the United States own a cell phone…and we’re just as addicted to them as the kids. On average, a young woman will spend ten hours using her phone each day. That’s right…ten hours! Before you get too disgusted, take a minute to consider your own cell phone use; if we’re honest, we all spend a lot of time typing, browsing, and playing on our devices.
Whether you use your phone to connect with family members through texts and messages, keep up with business matters through email, do research for school, or just play some fun games, doctors now have sobering news: Too much time with your cell phone could be bad for your neck!
How Cell Phones Can Damage Your Body
The Chief of Spine Surgery with New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, stepped forward to explain how cell phones are damaging necks and what can be done about it. According to Dr. Hansraj, the average person’s neck weighs about eleven pounds – while this seems like a lot of weight to carry around on your neck and cervical spine, it gets worse when you’re not standing with good posture.
Cell phone use causes people to naturally lean forward outside of their regular, healthy posture. Even a head that is leaned only slightly forward makes it weight more than twice as much, putting around 27 pounds of pressure on your neck. Do you get a little closer to your phone? Guess what – that puts even more pressure on your neck. If you lean forward at a 45-degree angle, which is not even as far as many people lean to look at
their phones, your head will put almost 50 pounds of pressure on your neck and back.
Understandably, the more you use your phone, the more damaging the effects will be on your neck. Before you breathe a sigh of relief because you only use your phone an hour or two a day, it’s important to remember that any amount of cell phone use can cause side effects. Even if you only text or check your email for short periods of time, there may still be repercussions for years to come.
What You Can Do
Before you lock away your cell phone and live like you’re in the 90’s, there are several things that you can do to help. First, you need to be aware of how you stand when using your device; rather than lowering your head to meet your phone, raise your device so that it is eye-level when in use. Secondly, try to cut back on your phone use – while any amount can damage your neck, the more time you spend with your head leaning forward,the worse your neck will be hurt. Last, set up a visit with your chiropractor for an adjustment. A chiropractor can help you by putting your neck back in place and reversing some of the damage from cell phone use.