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Spines and Texting

Leah Sarich | posted Wednesday, Dec 3rd, 2014

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We all spend too much time on our phones… texting, surfing and so on. And a new study suggests this activity is putting a lot of strain on our spines.

I spoke with physiotherapist Julia Brooks from the Alberta Children’s Hospital. She says  new research shows the forward tilt of the head, the forward flexion, we are in when we’re texting puts an extra 60 pounds on our head! Basically, an 8 year old child!! So you can imagine the stress on the spine, shoulders and neck!

Brooks says in that forward flexion, the head which weighs about 10 to 12 pounds in addition to gravitational pull seriously strains the muscles in the neck, shoulder and spine. This strain can lead to pain and headaches. And Brooks, who works often with teens, says they’re particularly at risk because they’re in this forward flexion position often anyway with homework and studying.

She says the difference these days is kids used to get up and run around and take a break to talk their friends, now kids just text each other… essentially staying in that forward flexion for longer and longer periods of time. And Brooks says she’s treating more and more teenagers for headaches because of overuse of these muscles.

That said, there’s some simple fixes. Brooks recommends taking breaks from texting regularly throughout the day. Brooks suggests looking up every 15 minutes for about 30 seconds, pushing the chin back over the shoulders and standing with correct posture. She also recommends raising your phone so you can read it right in front of your face… again it’s simply to get out of that forward flexion position on a regular basis. Simple solutions to a very common problem!

For more information read this article.

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