Categories: Orthopaedics

Cellphones cause a threat to your Posture

The harmful effects of cellphones are widely discussed, debated over and written about extensively. While most often these discussions and articles are centered around radiation and how cellphones affect the eyesight , what is often ignored is how badly the cellphone affects an individual’s posture. Let’s take a look at how cellphones are killing our back and find ways to stay healthy while keeping a better posture.

The cellphone and your back

We do it every day without being aware of the fact that cellphones are doing a great disservice to our back. Wondering how? Get to know about it right away!

Are you reading this post on your cellphone? If yes, in all likelihood, you must be tilting your head forward to look into the device. And how does it affect your back? When you bend forward, the weight of your head doubles or even triples. Naturally, it causes your neck to strain and in turn, it severely affects your back. And mind you, poor posture while sitting, standing or walking just doesn’t cause upper body pain and stiffness but also affects other parts of the spine such as the middle and low back.

What happens when you tilt your head or angle it forward?

When you tilt your head or angle it forward, the cervical spine’s (neck) muscles, tendons, and ligaments support the head. During exertions on the neck, it’s the neck’s intervertebral discs that help the force to be absorbed and distributed evenly.

When tilted forward, how much the human head weighs?

Kenneth K. Hansraj, Chief of Spine Surgery, New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, created a computer model of the cervical spine to understand how tilting the head forward affects your posture. One of his key findings was that the strain on the neck rises steeply as the forward angle of the head increases.

It simply means that when an individual tilts his head forward to look at the phone 2 to 4 hours a day, it severely affects their posture. When the head is tilted forward, even your shoulders acquire a similar posture. All these excess strain causes extra wear and tear on the neck and leads to a spinal injury that may require surgical intervention. When it comes to teenagers, the threat is even more serious for the reason that they spend a lot more hours glued to their cellphones.

Postural awareness – the first step towards a better posture

Make good posture a habit in order to prevent neck or back pain. But what’s a good posture?

  • Your head is upright
  • Your ears are in line with your shoulders
  • Your shoulder blades are down and retracted

Unless you choose to live like a hermit, you cannot avoid using your phone and more importantly checking it regularly. Here are ways in which you can check your phone without harming your neck.

  • As per Stanford University’s Environmental Health & Safety Department, it’s not advisable to use cellphones or tablets for extended computer work.
  • Don’t look at your phone tilting your neck forward; instead, raise the phone to your eye level.
  • When you read the screen, bring the phone to your face or a little below.

Remember, with a bit of care and being aware of your posture, you can make sure that you don’t face cellphone-related back pain and other problems including text neck.

Dr. Amarnath Reddy, Consultant Orthopaedics, Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, HSR Bangalore

Narayana Health

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