Do You Have "Text Neck"?

by Eliza Castile

With almost 60 percent of American adults owning a smartphone, chances are at least some of you are reading this on mobile right now. Everyone loves their cell phone, but like with every other new technology, it seems like everywhere you go there's someone else proclaiming they're the harbingers of the apocalypse. However, while most of the dire warnings are probably exaggerated, it does look like texting could be bad for your neck and back. They still aren't going to give your child brain tumors though. Probably.A recent study published in Surgical Technology International found that when we text, we adopt a hunched-over pose. Our neck is used to carrying our 10-12 pound heads, but when we lean over our phones to furiously text our friends about the travesty that is Tom Hiddleston being passed over for Sexiest Man Alive again, that weight increases. At 15 degrees, our neck has to hold up the equivalent of 27 pounds, and at 30 degrees, it increases to about 40 pounds. Even if you're a bodybuilder with a tree-trunk neck, I doubt it's used to carrying the weight of a typical four-year-old. I don't know about you guys, but if you've ever held a four-year-old you know they get really heavy, really fast.

Unsurprisingly, your neck isn't a fan of all this nonsense. All that strain can lead to pinched nerves, muscle strain, and disc herniations (!!!!) in addition to headaches and achy shoulders. Dr. Dean Fisherman coined the term "Text Neck" for this condition back in 2008, and since then mobile usage has increased drastically. Ninety percent of U.S. adults own a phone, and average smartphone usage increased by half last year. The Cisco Visual Networking Index even predicted that by the end of this year, there will be more mobile-connected devices than there are people on Earth.

Suffice to say that texting isn't going away anytime soon, which also means that Text Neck is probably here to stay as well. Don't forget that working in an office is bad for your health as well — between all the sitting contributing to weight gain and lower back pain, it looks like your back just can't catch a break, honestly.But fear not! There are things you can do to prevent putting all that stress on your spine. Basically just practice better posture. Also, even a little bit of walking is good for you, so maybe put down the phone every once in a while and go outside. Crazy talk, I know, but there's a whole big world out there (filled with hot bearded men).

Image: Bustle Stock Photo; Giphy