Carol Alt

Prote(x)t Your Neck!

By Carol Alt / Post / April 16, 2018

Texting on your phone can give undue stress on your cervical spine. Heads weigh 10 to 12 pounds, but when you bend forward to text, you put as much as 60 pounds of stress on your cervical spine. I always thought that simply because I was getting older I was SUPPOSED to feel more pain, like it was just acceptable. It’s specific pain too, in my hips, elbows, back, and the ever present “pain in my neck.”

While watching television the other day, a segment came on the news about how craning your neck is the cause of not just pain in the neck, but pain in the shoulders and in the back as well. The head weighs 10 to 12 pounds. I guess some of us have bigger heads than others! In any case, that weight is measured when your head is sitting directly straight up upon your spine, when you are walking with your back straight. The issue today, however, is that we are constantly bent forward. It used to be we were bent forward just at our desks as we worked, and now we are bent forward all the time. It’s texting!

Texting is the culprit, it’s reading emails, it’s working on iPads and iPhones and even on computers, where you sit hunched over. At the point that your head starts to lean forward, the weight of it on your cervical spine goes from 10 to 12 pounds up to almost 60! Imagine putting your arm out and holding a 60 pound weight for hours on end. Imagine the pain in your shoulders and back. Imagine doing it with just a 5 pound weight. That’s what the muscles in your back and your neck are doing when you are hunched over texts and emails on your phone and tablet.

So the big question remains, as always, what’s the answer?

The answer is that you should use your voice control (Like Siri, Google Assistant, etc.) as much as possible. That way you can talk without having to look at the phone all the time and then go back, when you are in a comfortable position and edit. As many other people suggest, holding the phone at eye level helps too. This is a little uncomfortable for me, so I just opt to use Siri as much as I can. Just in case I cheat and crane my neck,

I periodically and religiously go to my orthobionomist for an adjustment. It’s not bad enough that we hurt ourselves, but then we pretend to be stoic, tougher than we are, and don’t go and seek relief. Just soaking in the tub it’s a good remedial remedy, but a massage or a visit to a trained practitioner is a good idea if you are constantly hunched over.

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Edited by Jake Layton

Carol Alt

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