Technology really is a pain in the neck! How your smartphone may be hurting you and what you should do about it.

Posted By Gwinnett Medical Back & Neck Pain || 1-Mar-2018

Technology really is a pain in the neck! How your smartphone may be hurting you and what you should do about it.

Woman’s Day summed it up beautifully, “There's a universal texting posture, and it isn't a good one.” Americans spend a frightening amount of time gazing at their phone or tablet screens.

Not surprisingly, according to research conducted by Experian that was cited by Business Insider, younger people rely on texting to communicate much more than older generations. The study found that:

  • 18- to 24-year-old survey respondents sent an average of 1,130 texts per month and received an average of 2,022.
  • 25- to 34-year-old respondents sent an average of 1,831 texts per month and received an average of 1,110.
  • 35- to 44-year old respondents sent an average of 726 texts per month and received an average of 831.
  • 45- to 54-year-old respondents sent an average of 473 texts per month and received an average of 525.
  • Survey respondents 55 years old and above sent an average of 244 texts per month and received an average of 247.

What does that mean in terms of time spent bent over our smartphone screens? To get a handle on that, waded through a vast array of research from leading firms like:

  • comScore
  • Nielsen
  • SmartInsights
  • eMarketer
  • MediaKix
  • Pew Research Center
  • and others.

If you’re wondering how much time we’re actually spending staring at our phones, the numbers vary somewhat from study to study, but the folks at Hackernoon say the simple answer is “over 4 hours a day.” (And, of course, younger people – those who have grown up with this technology – are likely to spend even more time on their phones.)

That’s scary on so many levels, but at the moment we’re not concerned with what cellphone use is doing to personal relationships, work productivity or trivia night at your local sports bar. We’re concerned with what those hours and hours and hours of phone usage are doing to your neck!

Kenneth K. Hansraj, MD, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, told Woman’s Day, "I see patients all day because of neck pain due to poor posture—and smartphone usage is contributing to it," The magazine refers to a study Dr. Hansraj conducted, which revealed that looking down at your phone puts roughly 60 pounds of pressure on the spine (compared to about a dozen pounds when you're standing up straight).

Do yourself a favor – hold your phone up higher. Dr. Hansraj also recommended that readers of Woman’s Day look down with their eyes instead of tilting their heads.

Woman’s Day points out that overuse of your cellphone can also cause injuries to your back as well as your thumbs, wrists and elbows. "Our bodies weren't meant to hunch forward and hold out a phone all day," Jaime Quinn, DPT, a physical therapist with the Professional Physical Therapy network, told the magazine.

The back & neck pain specialists at Gwinnett’s pain management center in Norcross and Lawrenceville GA, have also seen the damage that can be caused by spending long hours working on the computer, too. Poor posture is at the root of much of the problem, so be mindful of your position – whether you’re texting friends or working on a report for the boss.

If you have a stiff neck or tight shoulders only on occasion, it’s all right to take something over the counter for pain or inflammation. But if you are suffering from stubborn, chronic back neck pain, don’t rely on medications that will only treat the symptoms. With Gwinnett Medical Clinic, you can see a Norcross chiropractor or one of our chiropractors in Lawrenceville, Ga. They will pursue a holistic approach focused on treating the source of the problem rather than just the symptoms.

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