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Texting Places Pressure on the Neck

Update Date: Nov 20, 2014 11:58 AM EST

Although texting is an activity done with hands, a new study reported that texting too often could place a lot of pressure on the spine. According to researchers, the angle in which people look down at texts puts about 60 pounds of pressure onto the cervical spine, which is the area above the shoulders.

"Loss of the natural curve of the cervical spine ... may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration and possible surgeries," the study's author Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj, Chief of Spine Surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, said according to the New York Daily News.

For this study, the researchers analyzed the different angles that the head is in when texting and calculated the amount of weight that gets placed onto the cervical spine at each angle. The angles that the team examined were 15-degrees, 30-degrees, 45-degrees and 60 degrees. The weights relative to those angles were 27 pounds, 40 pounds, 49 pounds and 60 pounds.

The team also calculated the amount of time people spend on their phones and found that people with smartphones are hunched over roughly two to four hours each day. For high school students, the amount of time is even greater. The researchers fear that the constant pressure that gets placed onto the spine every day can lead to spinal problems down the line.

"The problem is really profound in young people. With this excessive stress in the neck, we might start seeing young people needing spine care. I would really like to see parents showing more guidance," Hansraj told The Washington Post. "It is an epidemic or, at least, it's very common. Just look around you, everyone has their heads down."

Since getting people to put down their phones can be very difficult, the researchers recommend users to try to maintain a good posture and keep a neutral spine.

The study was published in the journal, Surgical Technology International.

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