A pain in the neck: How smartphone use is injuring your body

The posture we adopt as we stare at our phones, increases the stress on the neck and can cause excessive wear and tear.

Apart from the non-stop notifications, there are other ways your smartphone can be a huge pain in the neck, literally. A recent survey by app monitoring firm, App Annie found that people are spending an average of 4.8 hours a day - 1400 hours a year - on their mobile phones. This means most people are spending more time with their heads down, putting stress on their necks.

Tech neck

This is a term coined by the medical community to describe the frequently painful condition brought on by long periods of the slouching in hunchback position that most people adapt when using their electronic devices, according to the Metropolitan Pain and Spine Institute.

The more you bend your neck forward to look at your device, the more strain you put on your spine. This could produce so much tension to your neck and shoulders, causing upper back pain as well. Sammy Margo, from the UK’s Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, explains:

a normal standing position is facing forward and all the curves of your neck and spine are in correct alignment. But when you drop your chin on to your chest for a long period you are stretching the whole structure. Eventually, in conjunction with a sedentary lifestyle, it could lead to serious consequences.
Getty/ tommaso79

Impact of tech neck

Because smartphones and other electronic devices have become very much a part of an individual’s life, many people get mentally lost when using them; they forget about their posture. Prolonged periods of being in the tech neck position could result in:

  • Spine wear and tear
  • Stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Structural back and neck problems
  • Abnormal curvature

Margo advises that an occasional break from smart device use could help reduce the impact of tech neck on your health.

People carry out their lives by text, they get carried away and don’t realise they need a break.

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