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Technology and mobile phones usage can lead to text neck syndrome and can cause serious postural problems and have consequences on our overall health.
by Anne-Marie Baron
What is text neck syndrome?
Also known as forward head posture, text neck is when the head is positioned in front of the rest of the body.
Would you be reading this article hunched over your tablet or phone by any chance? It’s very likely that you are, since this syndrome now affects 66% to 90% of the population and is mainly caused by the excessive use of mobile phones.
This does not only affect millennials, but all generations combined
On average, we use our smartphones between 2 and 4 hours a day. Not to mention the hours we spend with a bad posture in front of a computer screen, laptop or even a TV. This posture then transposes into all our daily activities and becomes a habit.
The adult head weighs about 10 to 12 pounds, and this weight is the one our spine is able to bear while standing and adopting a good posture.
Complications begin when we tilt our head forward, even slightly for a few moments to check our new emails or send a text.
If you lean your head forward, even if it is only at a 15 degree angle, the weight of your head increases at 27 pounds - which is almost triple! If your head is at a 30 degrees, the weight of your head goes to 40 pounds; at 45 degrees, 49 pounds and 60 degrees, 60 pounds. Imagine: 60 pounds of stress you inflict on your spine!
Your body will try to adapt and compensate, and the consequences multiply at multiple levels. The forward head posture is a muscle imbalance in the neck, shoulders and upper back that can also affect internal organs. The muscles and joints of the front of the neck and torso atrophy, while the upper back muscles weakened and are no longer able to hold the head in its normal angle.
Here are some of the other consequences:
• Lungs, stomach and vital organs compression
• Increases risk of hernia
• Increases kyphosis (shoulders hunched forward)
• Chronic cervical, neck and back pain
• Headaches and migraines
• Decrease in lung capacity (may cause asthma)
• Drastic impact on appearance: loss of height
• Muscle spasms
• Osteoporosis (increased fracture risk)
• Sleep Apnea
• Stiffness at the nape of the neck and difficulty turning the head
• Spinal deformities, curvature of the spine
And the famous buffalo hump?
Look at your profile in a mirror and feel the back of your neck. Do you see or feel a bump? This hump is a small clump of fatty tissue that develops at the low cervical region. When the vertebrae of the cervical region are more or less immobile it can lead poor circulation in this region, causing fat and toxins to accumulate in this area.
Several reasons are associated with this phenomenon: overweight, osteoarthritis, hormonal imbalance. But in most cases, the cause is directly related to a bad posture or "text neck": chin out, head forward and shoulders rolled forward.
This bump combined with poor posture certainly gives your body an "aged look". In the long run, the consequences are serious and join those already listed for the forward head posture.
Fortunately, it's never too late to reverse these negative consequences and start improving our posture.
Tips and exercises to improve your posture and lifestyle coming soon!