A recent study by Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, a spinal and orthopedic surgeon, suggests that constant mobile device use can indeed be bad for your health – in particular your spine.
In the study, Dr. Hansraj calculated the force on the cervical spine at various positions. An every day neutral position exerts 10-12lbs of force on the spine. However, as your head is tilts forward this force increases by as much as 60lbs (the average weight of a punching bag, armchair, or boxer dog breed) – which definitely cannot be good for your spine if you stay in this position for an extended amount of time.
The study also mentions that:
People6 spend an average of two to four hours a day with their heads tilted over reading and texting on their smart phones and devices. Cumulatively this is 700 to 1400 hours a year of excess stresses seen about the cervical spine. It is possible that a high school student may spend an extra 5,000 hours in poor posture.
This excess stress can cause loss of the natural curve of the spine, which can lead to early degeneration of the spine that could possibly lead to surgery.
In this increasingly technological world, it is difficult – if not impossible – to avoid excessive use of phones and tablets, however it is possible to limit or break up the amount of time we use them on a daily basis. Courtney Tanaka, a physical therapist at the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute recommends checking and adjusting your posture every 30 minutes, whether you’re using a mobile device or a computer.
How much time do you spend using a mobile device each day? Have you noticed an increase in back pain over the past few years? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter!