Are Smartphones Ruining Our Bodies? Because 'Text Neck' Is Apparently A Thing

If you are constantly looking down at your phone (and that's most of you), you will most likely experience neck problems in the near future, according to health experts looking into a condition they call "text neck."

Reuters Health says that “text neck” is caused by looking down at your phone while texting or going on social media. This has become a medical issue and doctors say there is an increase in patients experiencing neck and back pain, according to Reuters Health. The average human head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds, but it can feel as much as 60 pounds of pressure when bending your neck to check your phone, says The New York Times.

“In an X-ray, the neck typically curves backward, and what we’re seeing is that the curve is being reversed as people look down at their phones for hours each day,” said spinal neurosurgeon Dr. Todd Lanman to Reuters Health.

While we may believe it’s the younger generation experiencing text neck more, it actually affects all ages. According to The New York Times, kids aged 8 to 18 spend more than 7.5 hours a day consuming media. Yet, it is also reported that adults spend 10 hours a day or more on forms of electronic media.

So, how do we prevent text neck? The New York Times says the easiest way is by “just sitting up.” Reuters Health suggests other simple lifestyle changes. With a cell phone, hold it in front of the face or at eye level, and use two hands and two thumbs to make the spine more comfortable and aligned. If using a computer or tablet, use an elevated monitor stand and a separate keyboard and mouse to keep the screen at eye level.

Even if you are not using electronics, Reuters Health suggests stretches and basic exercises to work on your posture. Bad posture can affect mood, behavior and memory too, so you will want to think about your mental health as well when it comes to text neck.