The average weight of our heads is about 12lbs pounds. As the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds.
Over time, researchers say, this poor posture, sometimes referred to as “text neck,” can lead to early wear-and-tear on the spine, degeneration and even surgery.
Can’t grasp the significance of 60 pounds? Imagine carrying an 8-year-old around your neck several hours per day. Smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours per day hunched over, reading e-mails, sending texts or checking social media sites.
That’s 700 to 1,400 hours per year people are putting stress on their spines, according to research. And teens might be the worst. They could conceivably spend an additional 5,000 hours in this position. With this excessive stress in the neck, we might start seeing young people needing spine care. As you stretch the tissue for a long period of time, it gets sore, it gets inflamed. It can also cause muscle strain, pinched nerves, herniated disks and, over time, it can even remove the neck’s natural curve.
We are already seeing a growing number of young children experiencing neck pain from the poor posture used while texting, on social media, and/or playing handheld video games. As more and more hours are spent daily with their heads in a down and forward position, we expect the problem to get worse.