The head weighs about 10 pounds (Wilson, 2012). When we are looking down texting, or on our phones looking at social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, we cause undue stress on the spinal column. This “chokes” the spinal cord. This pulls on the vertebrae and muscles of the neck and upper back, and that misaligns the vertebrae, and as a result nerves that come from that area of the spine are compromised. This can be prevented if people stopped texting, relying on social media, or keeping their head upright when they are using their phone.
Bending of our head forward at an angle of 60 degrees in order to acquire a better view especially when taking selfies puts pressure worth approximately 60 pounds on our cervical spine, which is the part of the spine located above the shoulders (University of Nebraska Medical Center, 2013). When we flex our heads forward at fluctuating degrees, we dramatically cause the increase of the weight felt by the spine. As a result, the cervical spine suffers from an incremental stress caused by the loss of the normal curve of the cervical spine (Sagon, 2014).
The stresses can lead to premature tear, degeneration, wear, and possible surgeries (University of Nebraska Medical Center, 2013). In addition, when we tilt our heads at only 15 degrees, we put pressure worth 27 pounds on our spine, tilting our necks at 30 degrees can equal to pressure worth 40 pounds, and a tilt of 45 degree adds a pressure worth 49 pounds (University of Nebraska Medical Center, 2013). Furthermore, a previous injury such as a slip, fall, or whiplash that caused damage on the neck ligament and affected the stability of the spine, when we lean our head forward can result in the neck ligament pulling further and then affect the stability of the spine which in turn accelerates osseous problems such as osteoarthritis. It also accelerates the decrease in range of motion, pinched spinal cord, pinched nerves, and even neck fusion (University of Nebraska Medical Center, 2013).
When we stand straight and upright, it makes us feel good and comfortable to text and interact in social media and in addition, it optimizes our health. Physical and computer ergonomics studies have also discovered that the levels serotonin and testosterone are elevated in the body when we are in a good posture (Quilter, 2013). In most cases, we use smartphones to text, causing our necks to extremely bend forward putting us on a poor posture which in turn reduces the levels of serotonin and testosterone in our bodies. In addition, when we are in a good posture, it helps in the reduction of the cortisol stress hormone in our bodies (Sagon, 2014).
Since it is almost not possible to avoid texting and accessing social media using our mobile phones, we should embrace and practice looking at our phones in a good posture characterized by a neutral spine (Wilson, 2012). In addition, we should avoid so much time every day hooked on our smartphones texting or chatting using social media networks. The right posture is essential to ensure that our necks and backs are not affected (Quilter, 2013). Physical health researchers and physiotherapists argue that ears that are correctly aligning together with the shoulders and retracting the shoulder blades give a definition of a good posture that can help in avoiding or rather reducing neck pains when texting (Sagon, 2014). Spinal stress is reduced when the correct alignment is embraced and is typically referred to be spine’s efficient and best position (Wilson, 2012).
Suggestions have been brought forward by medical experts to avoid neck pain caused by effects of texting and social media. According to (Quilter, 2013) it is important to recognize the neck pain as a serious issue and take appropriate body mechanisms to avoid or reduce strain on the neck. Furth more, Sagon (2014) argues that some form of exercise training and behavior are recommended such as taking breaks of 15 minutes when texting to look up, holding your phone at eye level when texting and leaning back and using pillows to support our neck and head so as to avoid strain on the neck.