Is Your Smartphone Ruining Your Spine?
By Sara Butler
It seems like nearly everyone has a smartphone. And nearly everyone with a smartphone spends hours every day using it. After all, they can keep you connected to anyone in the world and keep you happy with silly cat videos. But they do have their drawbacks -- one of which is how they are impacting the spine. Hunching over your phone, surfing the web, texting, or reading, can take a toll on your back in many ways.
The motion of surfing the net or texting on your smartphone can cause tightness in your shoulders. This tightness can then lead to pain that radiates down your arms into your hands and wrists. Too much time spent on your device can also cause pain in your lower and upper back.
When you look down at your smartphone, you’re putting pressure on your neck and upper back by hanging your head forward. Just holding your head forward a couple of inches as you look down can add up to 60 pounds of pressure on your neck, according to the American Chiropractic Association. This can set up all kinds of problems, including degenerative spine conditions in the future – and there’s no app to help with that.
Your smartphone usage can, over time, damage your neck and upper back to the point you begin to have muscle spasms. This condition also goes by the very aptly named condition “text neck.” It can lead to headaches and back pain in addition to muscle spasms, so you have to be careful.
What Can You Do?
The solution? Well, locking up your beloved device never to be used again isn’t realistic. What is realistic is taking a few moments to consider these easy solutions:
- Notice your posture – When you’re using your device, bring your phone up into your line of sight instead of hunching over to look at it. This can help minimize issues that could present themselves.
- Take frequent breaks – It’s easy to get caught up in using your phone for hours on end, but try to pay special attention to just how long you’re using it at a time. Take breaks a couple of times per hour to get up, walk around and stretch your muscles out.
- Stretch – Speaking of stretching, it’s a good idea to take some time out of your day to stretch your arms, neck, back, and legs regularly. This will keep your body flexible and that can help reduce your chances of injury.
Your smartphone can be a great tool, just make sure you don't let it ruin your spine!
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.