You may be surprised to learn that excessive texting causes neck pain. What’s not surprising is the number of chiropractic clients that experience both neck and back pain from excessive use of their smartphones. Just take a look at any group of pedestrians walking along a busy sidewalk and you will find dozens of people texting as they walk. If they’re sitting on a park bench, they are texting! Riding public transit, they’re texting! The most disturbing of course is texting and driving, but we’ll save that topic for another discussion.
Study Shows Why Excessive Texting Causes Neck Pain
A study conducted by Dr. Kenneth Hansraj and posted in the Surgical Technology International Journal, explains why excessive texting causes neck pain. The study concluded that while looking down to read or send texts on your smartphone is the equivalent of placing a 60-pound force on your neck. With that amount of force, it’s no surprise at all that excessive texting causes neck pain.
Dr. Hansraj utilized a computer model of the human spine to conduct his test. Establishing that the average weight of the human head weighs anywhere from ten to twelve pounds, Dr. Hansraj determined that if the subjects’ head was in the full upright position, with good posture, the force on the neck would also be ten to twelve pounds.
Where the study gets interesting is when the subject tilts his or her head forward to send or receive a text message. The computer model deduced that as the forward leaning angle of the head and neck increases, so does the force on the neck. The illustration below, provided by Dr. Hansraj, shows that with just a 15 degree angle the force on the neck more than doubles to 27 pounds. Slouching to 60 degrees drives the force up to an astounding 60 pounds.
To put this in perspective, 60 LBs is equal to approximately 4 bowling balls, or the equivalent of six large bags of groceries. Imagine placing that load on your neck for up to two to four hours each day. It’s no wonder that excessive texting causes neck pain.
How to Avoid Neck & Back Pain Caused by Excessive Texting
Limit Your Texting: Some studies show that the average smartphone user sends close to 100 texts per day. The number is even higher among users in the 18 to 24 age group. What’s concerning is that this number is going up each year. Try to limit the number of text messages you send each day. Don’t be afraid to pickup the phone or utilize a hands-free device in your car.
Hold the Phone Higher: You can reduce the strain on your neck when texting by simply holding the phone in a different location. Raise the phone to eye level to prevent your head and shoulders from slouching forward.
Take a Break: Some texters will spend their entire lunch break sending one text after another. That’s 30 minutes of non-stop pressure on your neck. Take a break!
Chiropractic Adjustments: When your texting gets out of control and back and neck pain sets in, you may need a chiropractic adjustment to realign your neck and spine to relieve your pain.