Keep your head up. Seriously.
People spend an average of two to four hours a day with their heads tilted over reading and texting on their smart phones and devices. There are people who bump into others because they're too busy commenting on someone's Facebook post to look up, or people who are so engrossed with a hilarious video on YouTube that they don't notice the traffic light has changed and are almost taken out by a bus.
Besides taking our attention away and putting us in precarious positions, the way we position ourselves when we're texting or surfing the internet on our phones is damaging our spines.
All the time we spend looking down at our phones adds up to approximately 700 to 1,400 hours of excess stress onto our spines. And with teenagers, it's even worse. Over time, all this hunching over increases the risk of spinal damage, at least according to a new study from spinal surgeon Dr. Kenneth Hansraj.
In the study, Dr. Hansraj says, "The weight seen by the spine dramatically increases when flexing the head forward at varying degrees. Loss of the natural curve of the cervical spine leads to incrementally increased stresses about the cervical spine. These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration, and possibly surgeries."
The way to remedy our posture problems isn't to get rid of all our devices, as they're a big part of our lives. Dr. Hansraj suggests that we be a little more aware of how we use them.
"While it is impossible to avoid the technologies that cause these issues, individuals should make an effort to look at their phones with a neutral spine and to avoid spending hours each day hunched over."
Dr. Hansraj urges people to stop holding their phones down by their waists and bring them up a few inches. If you adjust your posture and make an effort to stand up straight, your spine will have less pressure on it. If you make these changes now, you may not have any spinal issues later.