Free Press Journal

Using your phone too much may be hurting your back


A relative of a passenger from the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370. The accounts of some passengers on Chinese messaging tool QQ show they had been online, although the operator says that failure to shut the software down properly can give that impression.

Washington: A new study has revealed that slumping over the phone may be hurting your back.

According to the study, people spend an average of 2 to 4 hours each day with their neck bent at this unnatural angle while shooting off emails or texts and the success of social media has led to an epidemic of bad smartphone posture.

Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, the average adult head weighs 10 to 12 pounds when it’s in the upright or neutral position. However, because of that pesky thing called physics — gravitational pull — the cranium becomes heavier the more you bend your neck.

The study found that bending your head at a 60 degree angle to get a better look at your selfie is putting 60 pounds’ worth of pressure on your cervical spine, the portion of the spine above the shoulders. That’s more than the weight of the average 7 year old.

The researchers said that the weight seen by the spine dramatically increases when flexing the head forward at varying degrees and the loss of the natural curve of the cervical spine leads to incrementally increased stresses about the cervical spine. These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration and possibly surgeries.

The study found that tilting your head a mere 15 degrees puts 27 pounds of pressure on your spine; a 30 degree neck tilt could equal 40 pounds of pressure; a 45 degree tilt adds the force of 49 pounds.

The study will be published in Surgical Technology International.